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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Review - Off Course (Perdiendo el Norte)

Director: Nacho Garcia Velilla - UK / USA

Together with poking fun at societies’ generalizations, this film promises 105-minutes of laughing aloud entertainment. As recession deepens in Spain, two well-educated friends chance on a TV report extolling Berlin, Germany as the new Promised Land. Full of fire, Braulio (Julián López) and Hugo (Yon González)—with blessings from his fiancé (Úrsula Corberó) and parents (Javier Cámara, Carmen Machi)—arrive in Berlin. Pre-arranged lodging entails their staying with an outlandish brother (Miki Esparbé) and his capable sister (Blanca Suárez). Duped, given that companies ignore their impressive resumes, they need to find alternatives sources to survive. An elderly neighbor (José Sacristán) sweeps aside their moaning by telling stories of his immigration, and assimilation. Therefore, when they learn the landlord (Younes Bachir) and wife (Malena Alterio) need staff at their kebob restaurant, it is a win-win situation. Subsequently, other employment options offer Braulio tantalizing prospects with dismaying results, just as Hugo is forced by circumstances to confront changes at home. But when push comes to shove, this patchwork family’s bond meets the challenge.

Director Nacho Garcia Velilla and talented ensemble deliver a delightful, fast-paced, sassy comedy. Ranging from close-ups to sweeping long shots of Berlin’s skyline, Isaac Vila’s camera misses nothing. Working in tandem is Ángel Hernández’s editing, and Juanjo Javierre’s music. The sometimes hard to read subtitles can be overlooked in such a strong and funny film that even now has me grinning. (Marinell H.)

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