Working with the tiniest of micro-budgets, playwright and independent filmmaker Juan Cavestany stages a series of bizarre, Buñuelian scenarios that offer a cracked view of contemporary Spain in the wake of the economic crisis.
People In Places
To uncover the strange in the ordinary, the unsettling in the everyday: this is the mark of imaginative wizardry that can be found in abundance in People In Places. A couple sits down at a restaurant somewhere in Spain. Selecting a first and second course is simple enough. But the response that follows is perplexing: the waiter begins to write, page after page, in his notebook. Whatever he is writing, it doesn't seem as though he's going to stop. This puzzling opening prepares us for what lies ahead in this hilarious and offbeat feature by Spanish filmmaker Juan Cavestany.
Given the constraints placed on filmmaking in Spain due to the country's ongoing economic crisis, People In Places represents a bold and innovative response to the current reality, and signals a new direction for Spanish cinema. A one-man crew, working with a microbudget outside of the system of government grants, Cavestany makes use of some of Spain's greatest actors (including Santiago Segura, Eduward Fernández, and Rául Arévalo) alongside fresh, unknown faces, placing them in bizarre situations that will have you laughing out loud. Moving from one nondescript location to the next, a theme, or perhaps more of an undercurrent, emerges — until the fiercely political nature of the film becomes apparent.
Responding to his country's social
instability, Cavestany creates an experience
that feels very much of the present,
while harkening back to Spain's Surrealist
legacy represented in the cinema by
Luis Buñuel and others. He has employed
the absurd to describe a nation — and a
world — battered by history, politics, and
economics. Voyeuristic and confounding —
who is that man taking random
Polaroids? — Cavestany's film uses the
preposterous to highlight the all-too-real,
capturing people in places doing very, very