"Je ne sais pas pourquoi le monde est devenu un tel bordel"

We went to see L'Auberge Espagnole last night at the lovely mall theatre. I've been talking sans cesse about this film, so I suppose I owe it to you to tell you about it.

Xavier is a young Frenchman who wants a job with the French Ministry of Something Or Other. He talks to a friend of son père at the Ministry, who would like to hire him but with the European Union and blah blah blah, in short it would be easier for him to get this job if he spoke fluent Spanish and understood the Spanish economic system. So he wades through the normal sea of French paperasse to enroll in Erasmus, an inter-European exchange program, in order to spend a year in Barcelona.

He leaves his girlfriend and his mother and arrives in Barcelona, knowing only the French couple he met on the plane and un poquito de español. From there, his adventure takes off, as he searches for an apartment, love, an understanding of his Economics classes, and order and meaning in his life.

He finally finds a room in what the French call an auberge espagnole - their expression for a place where people from many cultures come together and interact. Although this is nothing more than a guess, I think that the expression, which literally means "Spanish inn", is a reference to the days when Spanish inns would be full of people doing pilgrimages from all over Europe to holy cities like St-Jacques de Compostelle (I don't know the Spanish name for this city!). He shares the apartment with roommates from England, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy who are also studying through Erasmus.

I love the idea of auberges espagnoles and the movie really captures the study-abroad feeling and the experiences of young foreigners like the assistants. It's a movie for anyone who ever studied or lived abroad, thought about studying or living abroad, or wondered about studying or living abroad.

It was just as lovely the second time, although the début was marred by subtitle typos which were a bit distracting. In addition, I picked up quite a few translation errors, but most of them weren't so drastic that they took away from the quality of the film and wouldn't bother anyone who didn't understand the French. I can't wait for the DVD...

srah - Thursday, 5 June 2003 - 9:28 AM
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Comments (5)

gravatar Jez - June 5, 2003 - 10:22 AM -

Ah yes. Haven't seen this film yet, but the description of my time living in University residences in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria seven(!)years ago (gosh - I feel old). Loads of Finns, Greeks and everything in between. Added into the mix were a bunch of cubanos and suramericanos. Six months of bliss.

gravatar Monkey - June 6, 2003 - 2:54 AM -

Sounds like a good fillum. I wonder where Aussie type people could see it? Wait for DVD, I guess. :(

The more I read your blog, Miss Srah, the more I learn. Soon I'll be as fluent in French and Spanish as I am in English! w00!

gravatar krista. - June 6, 2003 - 7:15 AM -

Funny you should remention this. It opened in Cork today under the title 'Pot Luck', which is why I was so thrown about it. But I got a promotional postcard for you (I went to see The Pianist last night). So, happy happy srah. :)

gravatar srah - June 6, 2003 - 8:24 AM -

Pot Luck is the Canadian title, too. I much prefer it to "Euro Pudding", because Euro Pudding means fudge-all. Thank you thank you thank you for the postcard!

gravatar lee - June 9, 2003 - 3:58 PM -

Sarah - I came to your blog via the link you made in the yahoo assistantship forum. I am doing the program next year, have a blog (also powered by MT), and am from Ann Arbor, although I have been living in France for the past four years. I looked for an email address on your site but didn't see one. Maybe I'm blind. Regardless, I thought I'd make my presence known somehow, and feel free to contact me if you like.

About L'Auberge Espagnole : it opened in France long ago, but I still remember it well. I loved it. I, also like you, speak French and am learning Spanish (and Arabic, but that wasn't in the film), and found it AWESOME to watch a movie where the three languages (English being the third of course) were so intertwined that it wasn't even worth reading the subtitles. One more thing: there was a whole entire scene in my favorite, off-the-beaten-track tiny cafe in Barcelona (the bright yellow one, if you remember the film well enough...) which made me miss Barcelona. Love that city.

Anyway, ramble, ramble. I just wanted to say hi...

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