JDIFF Review – 10,000km

When Alex (Natalia Tena) is offered a residency as a photographer in LA, her boyfriend Sergi (David Verdaguer) opts to remain in their home of Barcelona. The two decide to keep their relationship going, through text, email and Skype, but the physical distance begets an emotional one, and it is not long before Alex and Sergi find themselves facing some difficult questions.

10,000km is a story that may be familiar to some of us out there; trying to hang on to a relationship when the entire circumstances that brought you together in the first place have changed. Natalia Tena and David Verdaguer – the only two actors in the film – do a wonderful job of making the film feel honest and real.

The first 20 minutes of the film are one seemingly unbroken shot of Alex and Sergi’s life together in Barcelona, by contrast, as soon as Alex moves to LA, the film becomes choppy, with only moments being shown on certain days, We only ever see Alex and Sergi alone; either trying to interact with one another or trying to fathom the wedge that distance has pushed between them.

The script allows much of the breakdown of emotion and communication in the film to be implied; through the conversations between the characters, the audience fills in the blanks as to what happens when the characters are not on screen. The interaction and chemistry between Tena and Verdaguer is wonderful, and it is clear to see that they have worked on a shorthand for their characters from the start.

Shooting the film through the eyes of Skype and other electronic communication gives the audience a slightly disconnected feel, but this is intentional as it shows the characters drifting apart. Conversations happen on two different wavelengths – in one particularly impactful scene, Alex is drunk and dancing while Sergi bemoans his career imploding – and emails are drafted, written and rewritten on screen, as though we are seeing through the eyes of the characters.

Carlos Marques-Marcet’s direction keeps the film moving through the 200-odd days that the characters are apart, and the changes in their relationship as time goes on feel real, honest and relatable. The cinematography is strong, as is the chemistry between the two characters, although there are times when the pacing slows to a crawl as the characters fight and push one another away.

In all, 10,000km feels like an honest portrayal of the difficulties of a long distance relationship. Tena and Verdaguer are wonderful – both together and individually – but there are times when the novelty of seeing through Google Maps and texts wears off, and the pacing is allowed to slow to a crawl.

Rating: 3.5/5

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