• Golden Globe Awards

The Europeans (Spain)

“Dealing with life is complicated, we are dissatisfied animals”, wrote Rafael Azcona, the great Spanish satirist, most celebrated by his collaborations with Spanish director Luis Garcia Berlanga (El Verdugo) and Italian director Marco Ferreri (El Pisíto) in his novel, The Europeans, published in 1960. It was precisely Berlanga who several times said he wanted to direct the film.  Now, is Victor García León who takes over the baton from his predecessor, and with the adaptation by Bernardo Sanchez and Marta Castillo takes the book to the big screen.
The story is set in the late 1950s, during Francisco Franco´s dictatorship. The film follows Miguel (Raúl Arevalo), a provincial draft man and Antonio (Juan Diego Botto), the well-off son of an architect, as they escape the conservative and dark Spanish mainland in search of the sun, the sea and the fresh air of Ibiza, but mostly lured by the sexually liberated European women. In reality, what they are looking for is freedom. The two young men join an eclectic community of partygoers and bohemian vacationers but their stay at the bucolic island is not as carefree as they planned. The problem with wanting something is that you run the risk of getting it.
The Europeans is a portrait of a self-conscious Spain when it looks at Europe “We live in a strange country”, said García León at the Malaga Film Festival where the film premiered last August. “We are the first to criticize what is ours, but, at the same time, we are most comfortable in our land and less willing to change”.
It is also the portrait of a place: Ibiza before the arrival of hippies and disco-goers. “The Ibiza that welcomed strange castaways of history: the Ibiza of fascists fleeing Italy, nobles from Eastern Europe, deserters from Korea, people who made Ibiza an island that was not paradisiacal, an island that does not exist, a lost paradise. That connects a lot with Azcona”, added the director, who believes that there is something that defines the Spaniards as a country: “It´s violent. The mood is violent, the city is violent, everything is beautifully violent and amusingly violent, but when sadness comes; it´s also violent”.
The Europeans won a Special Mention of the Jury and the Critics Award at the 23rd