A Bench In The Park Review

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When his girlfriend ups and leaves for London, Juan decides to leave his love life in the hands of chance…


Dumped by his girlfriend, Juan (Alex Brendemul) resists the schemes of well-meaning friends and begins hanging out at a park and a bar in the hope of chance romance. More of an anecdote than a movie, this comedy of manners seeks to combine the spiky attitude of contemporary Spanish youth culture with the chatty classicism of Eric Rohmer.

That debutant director Agusti Vila manages to sustain such a slender story to such effect is to his credit. Each matchmaking dinner party and chance encounter is filmed in a distinctive manner (circular sweeps, leisurely pans, handheld two-shots, intercut close-ups etc.). But there's not enough in the visual artifice to compensate for the paucity of wit and insight in the dialogue.

Some fun with the chance romantic encounters aside, this is a tremendously slight Spanish effort.