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Jonas Trueba The Other Way Around

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The Other Way Around | 2024 Cannes Film Festival Review

The Other Way Around | 2024 Cannes Film Festival Review

Breaking Up is Hard To Do: Trueba Reinvents Couple Goals

Gloriously reminding us that we are doomed to repeat the same existential mundane experiences, in an
amuse bouche format with winks to Danish philosopher Sören Kierkegaard and relationship woe cinema that was Ingmar Bergman, Spanish filmmaker Jonás Trueba reshuffles the deck of (tarot) cards that is couplehood in the highly creative relationship comedy concept adorned with some meta cinema references. Reworking with the very likeable screen pairing thesps of Itsaso Arana and Vito San (also featured in Trueba’s previous number The August Virgin), The Other Way Around (which goes by the title Volveréis – which means “you will return” in Spanish) is a Kinder Surprise for how life imitates art, and how the couple-hood we see on screen might just be mordant live example of what is le passé composé.

Ale (Arana), a seasoned film director, and Alex (Sanz), an accomplished actor, find themselves on the brink of their fifteen-year anniversary together—a milestone fraught with what we could call a doubly delayed “seven-year itch.” Despite their decision to part ways, their mutual appreciation for each other remains palpable, expressed through thoughtful gestures like scavenging for trinkets at open-air flea markets to surprise one another. This sentiment extends to their wider social circle, including friends, family, and neighbors. Inspired by a philosophical conversation with Ale’s father, humorously portrayed by filmmaker Fernando Trueba, the couple devises a uniquely unconventional approach to their separation: hosting a breakup sort of like the anti-celebration Festivus was for television’s Seinfeld. As they navigate the varied reactions we their “it’s like a wedding, but the other way around” reasoning — from encouragement to denial to minor rage—each time they disclose their decision, the pair humorously deliberates over their approach. However, they soon realize that the true challenge lies not in the breakup itself, but in the logistics and potential fallout of their unconventional event—a notion that prompts them to question whether their well-intentioned idea may have unintended consequences, as this silly idea is indeed uncharted waters.

The Other Way Around Jonas Trueba Review

The kicker here is that when we consider today’s heightened sensitivity to everyone’s emotions, the screenplay co-signed Trueba and his leads offers a surprisingly hysterical concept with this matter-of-factly tonality strewn throughout. There are no wedges in the couple; instead, we comically look at how they strategize their next moves as a twosome confirming that they probably should reconsider – especially when the rental market prices are a disaster — why the heck should they part ways now?

The Other Way Around Jonas Trueba Review

Given that the characters are both film industry people, Trueba has more comedic aces in his sleeves infusing an extra layer of ingenuity by creating a meta-designed film within a film. This clever narrative device elegantly shifts focus away from their breakup and delves into scenes from the movie they had previously collaborated on. Even a seemingly simple montage sequence, such as a solo walk on a bridge by a potentially grieving partner sideswipes the viewer: if everything feels like a rehearsal or is staged then perhaps this ethical ungluing doesn’t hold up? One particularly memorable moment involves a fourth-wall-breaking critique, where the couple themselves call out the redundant nature of the film being watched, serving as a poignant reminder of the screenplay’s brilliance. Celebrating cinema, cinema couples and couplehood, The Other Way Around is very worthy of a party with a band too.

Reviewed on May 20th at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival – Directors’ Fortnight. 114 Mins.

★★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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