10, 000 km

10,000km is the story of Alex and Sergi who embark on a year-long long distance relationship between Barcelona and Los Angeles. Alex gets the chance at a residency in LA which would be huge for her photography career. They stay in touch online but the distance proves a challenge.

From the first I wanna say that for me, distance isn’t so much this couple’s problem as it is Sergi’s ego. Alex gets the email that she has this brilliant opportunity, advancing her career and following her passion, and Sergi’s reaction is to sulk. He was quite happy when their plan was for Alex to be pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. The idea she might want anything other than that, or that their relationship might be about more than just giving him the life he wants, feels like a personal attack for him. He huffs and pouts and threatens to storm out until she agrees not to go.

The only hope for the character is, that he feels so ashamed of behaving like a spoilt manchild, that he relents and encourages her to go in the end. Alex spends so much time placating him, reassuring him that this will only be for a year, and she won’t let her life’s dreams get in the way of his rescheduled baby timeline, that they never have a real, open conversation about what they want for their lives, and what they’re willing to sacrifice.

There are so many conversations in this film, but such meagre communication. I guess that’s the whole point. They can Skype each other from across the world, but they can’t make themselves understood by the person they love. Sergi sees Alex’s success as a betrayal, especially when he is less so. As her project comes into focus, he becomes more and more aimless and lost.

The wide open goal is, why doesn’t he go to Los Angeles with her? Yeah, his English is limited, but it’s not like they don’t speak Spanish there. Also he could learn. Alex is British and she’s managing to get by in his language, living in his city, why is it too much to ask the same of him? Also, he’s a teacher, a job you can literally do in any corner of the world. Why would you not just go with her?

He hits the nail on the head when she asks him to do just that, and he says, “What? And be a house-husband?” It’s his own macho bullshit that is getting in the way of his happiness. What he asks of her, he would never do himself. He would never make the same sacrifices. And it’s to his own detriment, coz otherwise this could have been 2 hours of him getting laid in sunny LA.

Still, he is a really interesting character, watching him indulge and then resist his flaws by turns. He’s sympathetic despite his toxic masculinity because he does try, and because he does suffer, and he does feel shame at his own acts of self-sabotage.

He’s played by delightfully scrummy David Verdaguer, who is in The Days To Come, which is also about a year in which a relationship is put through the wringer. He’s just excellent, managing to hold these two-person character studies with almost no external characters impinging on this tight binary orbit.

The lassie he plays against, Natalie Tena, is also great. I spent the longest time looking at her face, like, I know you, I’ve seen you somewhere. Unable to place her, I finally Googled it after the film. She’s fucking Osha in Game of Thrones. How did I not see that?

Anyway, great film. Tense, wrenching, emotional drama.