It begins where it ends . . . - Xavier
A fresh comedy from the new Europe, L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE is the story of a young man who, through cosmopolitan adventures and comic tribulations, finds his own unexpected place in a mixed-up, multi-cultural modern world. Bursting with energy, optimism and cinematic invention, the film was a runaway box-office hit in France and an award winner at festivals across the globe, ultimately garnering France's Oscar® equivalent, the César, in the category of Best Female Newcomer for Cécile De France and receiving five César nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Writing, Best Editing and Best Supporting Actress for Judith Godrèche.
Rising director Cédric Klapisch uses a kinetic high-definition digital camera that plays with time, rhythm and space to reflect a year of wild parties, tumultuous love affairs, inspired friendships, sudden heartaches and unexpected connections that add up to a new view of the future. The film is accompanied by a global-music soundtrack that includes tracks from Radiohead, Daft Punk and Ali Farka Toure, along with flamenco, Afro-pop and even Chopin.
Set against the dynamism of one of Europe's hippest cities, Barcelona, L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE follows the fate of 25-year-old economics student Xavier (Romain Duris) who journeys there as part of the popular inter-European exchange program "Erasmus," named after the traveling Dutch scholar of the Renaissance.
Xavier arrives in Spain completely raw - unable to speak Catalan, unhappy about leaving his girlfriend behind, and uncertain of who he is or what bonds he can possibly find in this city of strangers. Searching for a place to stay, Xavier first falls in with a newlywed French couple, a doctor and his lonely wife, Anne Sophie, who offer up their couch. Then he finds the ultimate situation: an apartment of seven students whose nationalities are as varied as their personalities and sexualities. Their polyglot of languages, Xavier says, reminds him of the chaos that runs inside his own head.
The apartment becomes known as L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE, literally "the Spanish Inn," which in French slang means a place where cultures are mixed like a stew, where all rules are off and anything can happen. Indeed, the cramped flat soon becomes the scene of riotous situations and comic errors as the culturally diverse students experiment with various ideas on life, love and figuring out the future. Xavier becomes entangled in a web of women: his French girlfriend back home, Martine (played by AMELIE star Audrey Tautou), who seems far away even when she comes to visit; his best friend in the apartment and sexual educator, the Belgian Isabelle (César award-winner Cécile De France), who wishes Xavier was a girl; and the repressed Anne Sophie (Judith Godrèche), for whom Xavier's tenderness soon bubbles over into an illicit affair.
But even as hearts are broken and eyes are opened in completely unforeseen ways, even as bedlam and confusion reign in the Spanish apartment, a kind of unity emerges out of the inhabitants' common dreams. The party ends and Xavier returns to France, ready to begin his adult life, a life entirely different than the one he envisioned before he experienced L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE.