Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Journey To Kyoto (2018) Film Review
The Journey To Kyoto
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
The latest film from Spanish director Pablo Llorca is the sort of short but sweet offering that might struggle to get much play outside of his homeland, even though precise comic execution and its themes of ageing, art and keeping up appearances mean it deserves to.
Fabio (Carlos Domingo) is raging against the passage of time. A one-hit wonder in the Eighties, he refuses to accept his star has faded. Now, he's eagerly making arrangements for his latest gig with the help of his mother (fabulous character María Jesús Garrido, who deserves a film of her own) - with whom he still lives and who is gradually selling off objects from their apartment to pay for his lifestyle choices.
We'll chiefly follow the pair of them over the day in the build up to his 'comeback' gig, as they try to encourage people to come along - and keep the debt collectors at bay - while at the same time Fabio's apparently much more successful artist friend Gonzalo (Rafael Rojas) is opening his latest painting exhibition.
Fabio is a beautifully worked tragicomic character and Domingo ensures we never lose our sympathy for him even when he is at his most ridiculous, whether its a sincere but flawed attempt at flirtation with a younger man or onstage with his newly constructed band. Gonzalo is also precisely drawn, stereotypically an ageing 'Spanish artist' from his beard to his waistcoat, but given heart and soul by by Rojas' performance.
The main object of Llorca's ire is not his characters - it's clear he has a soft spot for them, as soon will we - but the rather the vacuous nature of parts of the Spanish art scene, where friendships are fickle and fame over in a heartbeat. The gig and art opening are played for different sorts of laughs, with both being shown to be pretty much pointless in the grander scheme of life. When it comes to connecting with your fellow man, Llorca argues, it's life's little generosities - like an unexpected buffet sandwich or a shared moment of music - that have enduring value. The film ends rather abruptly and it's a sign of how much we've enjoyed spending time with Llorca's characters that we're left wanting more.Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2018