Europa

***1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Europa
"Jose Lillo's performance as Pedro is of chiselled weariness, whisper, mutter, movement."

Pedro works at a Swiss dairy. There is news from his brother, Antonio, back in Spain. Neither is good. Mobile telephony is unreliable, but Pedro may be too. Bad luck follows with him, and circumstance makes strange companions.

Lucas del Fresno has created something that is at times as bleak as the Swiss landscapes seen through the windscreen of the pickup. Snow on the ground and the cold bare hills. Skies lit with the same uncaring as the warnings on the dashboard and the bracketing glow of the visor's mirror.

Everywhere shadow. The distant headlight, the proximate cigarette, the melange of languages and judgement. Modern Switzerland is complicated, no matter that they cannot escape The Third Man's prejudice. In Those Who Are Fine it is clear that there are modern problems, but here the struggles are personal, pastoral, pastural. Jose Lillo's performance as Pedro is of chiselled weariness, whisper, mutter, movement.

Comfort is often fleeting, be it bar, bedroom, barely lit by a flickering fire. Pedro is haggard, haunted, windswept even in the still. As in Yard Kings when a plane flies far overhead we cannot know what dreams are left as vapour in its wake. They catch the sun but are no lighter for it.

Fran Rubio's score contributes to make a film as transporting as any of the means of escape shown. This is not a road movie, though there is a journey, not an Odyssey though it takes its name from one of those travelling. This is something else, melancholic, meandering, magical.

Reviewed on: 10 Oct 2021
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A foreign worker in Switzerland has to take a cow to slaughter while his mother is dying in a Spanish hospital.

Director: Lucas del Fresno

Starring: Angèle Colas, Magali Heu, José Lillo

Year: 2021

Runtime: 26 minutes

Country: Switzerland

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