Inside Out 2011: ‘Room In Rome’ – A long drawn out perfume commercial

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Room In Rome

Directed by Julio Medem

Written by Katherine Fugate (dialogue advisor) / Julio Medem

Spain , 2011

You know those perfume ads that feature beautiful people, dramatic music and languid shots of these beautiful people not really doing anything but being terribly seductive? And then at the end, we get in a breathy voice something like “Armani – Desire for Men.” You know exactly what I’m talking about. Well, have you ever seen one of these commercials and thought to yourself “If only this was two hours long instead of just thirty seconds and featured a lot of female full frontal nudity and lesbian sex”? If so, you are going to love this movie or you are filmmaker Julio Medem. Either possibility seems equally improbable to me.

Room in Rome tells the story of two young women, one from Spain, the other from Russia, who have just met and end up in a hotel room in Rome together. What unfolds is a long (long, long, long) night of passion, sex, stories, secrets and lies mixed in with some misplaced humour and irritating art history and geography lessons. Throughout the movie I am wondering, how did this get made? Who read this script and thought, “Sounds great. Let’s make it.” A quick look around the movie theater makes me think I’m not the only one wondering this. I think about it some more. Then it makes sense. I can imagine Julio Medem pitching this to some movie executive only to be interrupted by the executive saying, “You had me at hot, naked lesbians.” I realize I haven’t been paying attention to the film for the last ten minutes. As I focus my mind back onto the screen, nothing has happened. And nothing interesting will happen for the rest of the film.

Room in Rome is exactly what I described it as in the first paragraph: it amounts to a long, drawn-out perfume commercials that features two incredibly beautiful women (Elena Anaya and Natasha Yarovenko) but manages to become incredibly boring incredibly fast. It occurs to me that these two actresses are actually very good but even they cannot salvage this thing. Still, they seem to do their best with what they’re given here. Though the film is less than two hours long, when I walked out of the theatre I was somehow convinced that at least three hours must have passed. A look at my watch proved me wrong. As I walked outside, I overheard a snippet of someone else’s conversation about the movie that summed my feelings up perfectly; “Every time I thought the movie was finally ending, they just had sex again and it just kept going.”

Laura Holtebrinck

21st Annual Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival / May 19 – 29, 2011

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