14 year old Ibra, originally Moroccan, left his country long time ago hoping for a better future in Spain. Living in shelters, fully settled, going to school, he is hoping his paper work will get done soon. Then we have Rafa, a young boy living with his parents. He hangs out with his group of friends inclusion best friend Guille. Rafa gets visibly uncomfortable overtime the friends talk about girls and going out with them. A chance encounter a nightclub is their first interaction, but the spark between them develops much later. Rafa wants to be with Ibra and after initial awkwardness they both befriend each other. Fearing that his paper work may not come through, Ibra runs away. He gets mixed u with a local gang that gets him to sell drugs but Rafa finally manages to find him and they both run away again. Rafa and Ibra will now do everything to be together. Rafa goes over and beyond to help Ibra, using his friend Guille’s life. The bond, mostly emotional, is very strong but soon Ibra realises that he cannot have Rafa run with him. He has a stable life and he deserves one. An emotional climax, not in your face, makes me believe that this bond was not meant to last long.
The first problem, if you can call it that, you will notice is the non-linear story telling format. It is not told chronological, so it does take a while to put the jigsaw pieces together and understand but slowly it all starts to make sense. You feel the confusion and awkwardness that both these boys are going through. Rafa doesn’t want to be made fun of for not being interested in girls and top of that being interested in an Arab foreigner for friendship. Ibra on the other hand just wants to stay in the country legally and knows that it has to be his good karma that he met Rafa. The boys hang out together over games, walks and long silences. But don’t let that fool you. I believe that shows the emotional bond that is getting created between the two boys. We see both real love and denial as they realise how they feel about each other. The only kiss in the film that shows that they may be connected at physical level as well and not just emotional was fantastic and well-placed in the narrative. The scene where Rafa asks for help from his friend Guille is so pure. ITs pure friendship emotions. There are 2 very emotional scenes in the film and in each they demonstrate the fear of unknown and losing their loved ones at such a tender age. The acting by all principal last members is amazing and the story and direction is brilliant. Capturing and witnessing loss of first love at such a tender age is not easy but I really applaud the makers for bringing this to us without over dramatising any situation. I would LOVE to see a sequel of the film come through in next few years.
Don't be fooled into thinking that this is just another boy meets boy love story. At it's very core is a film that tells the story of young love, young love that we've all experienced. (8/10)