452 words on Films
When I saw L’auberge espagnole two years ago I quite liked the film. Not because it’s perfect but because I could relate to the whole thing of staying abroad, having to acclimatise and so on. Of course my time abroad wasn’t as exciting as what’s shown in the film but that’s just how films work and you perceive your own life in comparison.
So I was curious to see the film’s sequel that goes by the wildly inappropriate title L’auberge Espagnole 2 in Germany, but is originally – and much more appropriately – named Les Poupées Russes, Russian Dolls. The German Title is so inappropriate because – well – there’s just no ‘auberge’ and next to no ‘espagnole’ in the film. The film just carries on with the same people who have continued their lives since living in Spain. Again, it focuses on Xavier who has become a screenwriter and struggles, financially successfully, but intellectually less so, to find jobs as a writer. And similarly struggles to find a girl he’ll see more than a few times.
While going through these struggles he meets some of the people from the old place in Spain again and eventually everbody meets in St. Petersburg because William the annoying brother of his English flatmate Wendy is marrying a Russian girl there. Let’s say that this might be little bit far fetched when you think about it, but it’s OK while seeing it in the film itself. Particularly because the film has the nice multilingual thing going again: While it is dubbed – with Xavier narrating in German, German with a French accent, all the proper dialogues are in their original languages and just subtitled. That’s French and English at the beginning, plus some Russian at the end. A good way to deal with all the moving together of countries in Europe.
Perhaps all this adds up to something that’s a little bit too zeitgeisty, with people from all those different places not only getting along but even sticking together, with Russia starting to be a part of Europe, with rides through the Eurotunnel being the most normal thing in the world. But it’s a nice aspect of the zeitgeist they’re sticking with and one they mix with a number of pretty girls – even if both of these points make your own life look a bit dull once more.
And who’d disagree with a film whose opening scene features the ‘your battery is running low, I’ll go to sleep now’ message of an iBook. A message which, strangely, I’ve never seen on my iBook, which prefers to always just go to sleep without prior warning when it’s running out of battery power.