Fermat's Room thrills Brussels

Article published on July 3, 2008
community published
Article published on July 3, 2008
Spain's emerging directing talent was in the spotlight last night at the Brussels Film Festival (June 28-July 7), whose programme focuses on first and second feature films produced in Europe. Directors Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopeña were at the Flagey Centre to introduce Fermat's Room, which is also part of the section Europe Now! at the upcoming Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

With a low budget but great ambition, the suspense film centres on four mathematicians stuck in a shrinking room, struggling to solve enigmas in order to avoid being squashed by the moving walls. As tension mounts, the four will have to solve a much greater problem: who is the person behind their attempted murder and what links the chosen mathematicians?

The two directors make the most out of the film's claustrophobic atmosphere and introduce some humor, to leave audiences some breathing room and perhaps also not to disappoint the fans of Piedrahita's former career as a stand-up comedian. Intense and entertaining, Fermat's Room is yet another interesting, quality horror/suspense films to come from Spain recently.

As Sopeño stressed when presenting the film, a producer unable to make a film with only four characters and a room cannot be called a producer. His seemingly easy challenge was accepted by Barcelona-based Notro Films, which also distributed the film locally in late 2007, to positive reviews.

The second Spanish feature of the night was Jordi Vidal's debut Road Spain, also produced by a Catalan company, Iris Star. Marc Rodríguez plays an architect who decides to radically to leave his wife and work behind and go on a trip around Spain. Running from his past, he finds a gallery of weird characters who give him no clues, however, as to what to do with his life.

The film's most intimate moments, when the character bares his soul, are also the most interesting, but audiences generally feel as lost as Rodríguez’s character most of the time.

Other Spanish titles presented this week at the festival include Roser Aguilar's The Best of Me, the astonishing thriller The Night of the Sunflowers by Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo and Albert Serra's second feature, Bird Song, which follows in black and white the journey of the three wise men to the Baby Jesus.

Vitor Pinto