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East of the Compass

Jordi Torrent's likeable if hokey tale about the residents of a Barcelona boarding house suffers from a five-year delay in its release. Though shot well before "Dirty Pretty Things" and "Auberge Espanole," pic's then-fresh touches -- a sinister organ-trafficking plot and a Spanish lodging serving as a cross-cultural oasis -- now appear weakly derivative. Still, the nicely assorted international cast generates gentle goodwill.

Jordi Torrent’s likeable if hokey tale about the residents of a Barcelona boarding house suffers from a five-year delay in its release. Though shot well before “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Auberge Espanole,” pic’s then-fresh touches — a sinister organ-trafficking plot and a Spanish lodging serving as a cross-cultural oasis — now appear weakly derivative. Still, the nicely assorted international cast generates gentle goodwill as geriatric Europeans join forces with Third World youth to wrest a chunk of real estate and a modicum of justice from the soulless, globalist rich. “Compass” could find a berth in Hispanic fests and cable.

The multi-ethnic, multilingual boarding house clan, which includes a French-Canadian writer cum night manager, a Moroccan worker, a West African peddler, and two retired pensioners, one Spanish and one German, is threatened with eviction when the dying owner’s cold-hearted son puts the building on the block. When the tenants’ scheme to buy the place themselves is thwarted, the arrival of a beautiful Indian woman and her son on a mysterious mission gives purpose to the motley collection of seeming losers. Tech credits are pro.

East of the Compass

Spain

  • Production: An ICAA/Ministerio de Educacion y Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya presentation of a Prisma GPA production with the participation of ICIC/ICF and the collaboration of Televio de Catalunya/Via Digital. Produced by Sandra Sanchez, Jordi Sasplugas. Executive producer, Antoni Verdaguer. Directed, written by Jordi Torrent.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Francois Dagenais, Xavier Gil; editor, Eric Drouin, music, Jose Evangelista. Spanish, French, English, German, Hindi dialogue. Reviewed at Walter Reade Theater, New York, Feb. 14, 2006. Running time: 96 MIN.
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