Tempus Fugit

Innovative ideas and considerable wit overcome budget limitations in playful comedy-drama about a nerd who must save the world from an apocalypse. Still awaiting transfer to 35mm, pic had an inauspicious bow on Spanish TV but it deserves to travel further into the future, with touchdowns in South American territories and Latin-themed fests.

With:
With: Xavi Mira, Neus Asensi, William Miller, Xavier Bertran, Irene Montala. (Catalan dialogue)

Innovative ideas and considerable wit overcome budget limitations in “Tempus Fugit,” a playful comedy-drama about a nerd who must save the world from an apocalypse. Whimsical Catalan film covers some of the time-space turf that made the first “Back to the Future” sequel so much fun, but in terms of finance and geniality pic more resembles ’80s low-budget sleeper “Electric Dreams.” Still awaiting transfer to 35mm, pic had an inauspicious bow on Spanish TV but it deserves to travel further into the future, with touchdowns in South American territories and Latin-themed fests.

Ramon (Xavi Mira), a lovelorn geek watch repairman, yearns for Angie (Neus Asensi), who he regularly observes buying her daily newspaper in the town square below his balcony. Meanwhile, Andros (William Miller), a handsomely ethereal young man in a bowler hat, materializes in Ramon’s bedroom. He tells the incredulous nebbish the world will come to an end at 9.30 a.m. the next Saturday unless Ramon assists him.

Ramon, with the help of his soccer-mad neighbor Terrades (Xavier Bertran), throws the oddball Andros out on the street. However, next day, when a prediction by Andros comes true, Ramon worries that the world may indeed be close to destruction and sets out to find time-traveler Andros.

Andros tells Ramon he must fulfill a special mission, the details of which can only be revealed five minutes before global disaster is set in motion. The alien gives Ramon a pack of tablets called Tempus Fugit, which allow the imbiber to travel back in time for the number of days assigned to each pill.

With the fate of the world on his shoulders, Ramon promptly loses most of the tablets, which are then picked up by Terrades. The sports fan, concluding that his favorite soccer team’s glory can be enhanced by interfering with the past, sets out to change soccer’s future.

Film takes its time winding up its various storylines, but plenty of laughs are to be had along the way, proving it’s not necessary to have a multi-million-dollar budget to tell a fun and lightly thrilling story.

Perfs, particularly Mira’s as Ramon, are suitably low-key, and Bertran is aces as the gregarious soccer fanatic. All tech credits are high quality and lensing looks impressive despite pic’s temporary transfer to Betacam SP.

Tempus Fugit

Spain

Production: A Televisie de Catalunya presentation of a Mallerich Films, Manga Films production. (International sales: Mallerich, Barcelona.) Produced by Paco Poch. Directed by Enric Folch. Screenplay by Folch, Albert Espinosa; story, Folch.

Crew: Camera (color, super 16-to-Betacam SP), Andreu Rebes; editor, Ferran Roig; music Alex Martinez; art designer, Jazz ; production designer, Oroi Marcos; sound, Xavier Berruezo; sound designer, Pere Aguilar. Reviewed at Puchon Fantastic Film Festival, South Korea, July 19, 2004. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Xavi Mira, Neus Asensi, William Miller, Xavier Bertran, Irene Montala. (Catalan dialogue)

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