Who apart from us: a surprising documentary on youth in the line of Adolescentes -…

After the very pretty Eva in August, the Spanish filmmaker Jonas Trueba returns with Qui à part nous, a hybrid film between documentary and fiction, surprising in its form, and captivating in what it tells about today’s youth. today.

What is it about ?

For five years, director Jonás Trueba follows a group of Madrid teenagers and the transformations that punctuate their transition to adulthood. Multifaceted generational portrait, WHO APART US is a collective question addressed to all of us: who are we, who do we want to be?

An immersion in adolescence

who besides us bears a universal subject: that of adolescence. This river documentary (3h40!) was developed over 5 years by its director, closely following a group of young people. Its shape makes it a very unique and pleasantly surprising object. In any case, its director does not seek to make a kind of sociological radiography, but favors the experience, so that it is as immersive as possible.

This is a very instinctive film, not very theoretical and quite honest when it comes to reporting on the creative process with all its ups and downs. It’s a flickering film. As a spectator, what I find most interesting is its unpredictability, its constant questioning, even a certain awkwardness“, indicates Jonas Trueba in the presentation file of the film.

Be as universal as possible

Who apart from us privileges the moments of life, like time capsules, or rather timeless capsules. One of the strengths of the film being that these teenagers are about today, but could also be teenagers from the 90s, 80s or before. The filmmaker has done work on the anachronistic side, in order to be as universal as possible.

As a result, at times we have the feeling of reliving our adolescence, or in any case, having reminiscences of it. “The film allowed me to remember who I was as a teenager, to remember that there are things that you have to keep talking about the way they do. Sometimes, as we grow up, we forget how to live. Life tends to bury us. For me, remembering adolescence is also a way to stay alive“, summarizes Jonas Trueba.

Who apart from us: a surprising documentary on youth in the line of adolescentes -...
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The film is quite abundant in the subjects it tackles: it is about the place one makes for oneself within a group, of friendship, of love, of the harassment that exists at this age, and it there is also a beautiful scene in which these young people talk about politics. A statement that definitely resonates!

We sometimes wonder about the delimitation between documentary and fiction, the director does not hide having worked on this narrative border. “I was inspired by “situation”, a concept theorized by the Spanish director José Luis Guerín, in opposition to the staging. The goal was to make the protagonists react to situations that would surely not present themselves in this way in their lives.“, he specifies.

At all times, Who Apart from Us rings true and captures very authentic moments, like another successful documentary on the same theme, teenage girls by Sébastien Lifshitz (César for best documentary 2021). The two films differ on many points, however, Teenagers being pure documentary. Another difference: Jonas Trueba is fully included in the device of the film, and we can hear his voice at several times.

Finally, here, the parents are totally excluded from the story, an idea that can echo another very beautiful film about adolescence, birth of octopuses by Celine Sciamma. “I didn’t want to film scenes of family confrontation. These are situations that we have already seen a lot in the cinema, which seem worn out to me. The idea of ​​the film was to show these young people as if they were already adults, and this manifests itself above all in the moments when their parents are absent: at the park, during the end-of-year trip, the parties they organize at home… “, details Jonas Trueba.

Qui à part nous, at the cinema this Wednesday, was triple awarded at the 2021 San Sébastián festival and received the Goya for Best Documentary in 2022 (equivalent to the César in Spain).

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