End of the Century (4 stars)

End of the Century

Lucio Castro's beguiling debut is a time-bending love story that brims with promise

Brief encounters have life-changing consequences in End of the Century, an ambitious, imaginative debut feature from Argentinian director Lucio Castro that is full of promise. Starting from banal observations of a solitary holiday, it builds into a sexy, beguiling reflection on love and the endless possibilities that flow from one meaningful connection.

Ocho (Juan Barberini) is an Argentinean poet on holiday in Barcelona. Time drifts away as he strolls the streets, lies on the beach and exchanges lingering glances with Javi (Ramon Pujol), a former resident of the city who has returned to visit his family. Fate seems determined to nudge them together and eventually they talk, flirt and tumble into bed. There is an echo of Andrew Haigh's Weekend in the initial premise as this random fling grows into something more significant. Javi is wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the word KISS that sparks a memory in Ocho. There is a growing sense that perhaps the two of them have met before.

End of the Century steps up a gear as it turns into a time-bending tale that partly unfolds in flashback to events 20 years earlier. Castro keeps you guessing as to whether we have witnessed history repeating, a sentimental vision of what might have been, or just one illustration of many destinies that beckon when we stand at a crossroads in life.

Constantly intriguing and occasionally baffling, End of the Century offers a reckoning with the past through the looking glass of the present. It is a film of wry reflection and fond remembrance that retains an emotional tug thanks to the performances of the two actors and the chemistry they generate. Ocho and Javi have very different temperaments and desires, but you are convinced they deserve to be together wherever fate may take them.

Selected release from Fri 21 Feb.

End Of The Century

  • 4 stars
  • 2019
  • Argentina
  • 1h 24min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Lucio Castro
  • Cast: Juan Barberini, Ramon Pujol, Mía Maestro

Ocho (Barberini) is an Argentinean poet on holiday in Barcelona who gets involved with Javi (Pujol). Ambitious, imaginative debut feature that builds into a sexy and beguiling reflection on love; intriguing and occasionally baffling, it’s grounded in the chemistry between the two actors.