Archive of films Smoking Room / Smoking Room

Spain
2002, 88 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2002

An original and slightly chilling comedy set in an office environment centred on a petition through which Ernesto, an employee of a large international company, hopes to win back the right to smoke in at least one of the rooms at work. An apparently banal issue thus ultimately grows into a serious conflict of opinion.


Synopsis

An original and slightly chilling comedy set in an office environment centred on a petition through which Ernesto, an employee of a large international company, tries to win back the right to smoke in at least one of the rooms at work. At first it seems that Ernesto is playing on the monotonous frustrations of the majority of the staff, heightened by the firm’s American take-over. However, to resist the pressure and inconspicuous threats from higher up is not an easy task. The petition is signed only by five colleagues who, when Ernesto risks losing his job, withdraw their names from the petition. An apparently banal issue thus ultimately grows into a serious conflict of opinion. The two Spanish-Argentine directors offer a highly unusual film treatment in this depiction of an office environment as a setting of perpetual frustration. In a documentary style, the brisk camera pans up close to give large facial details, to prove explicitly and without a trace of didacticism that the transition from human being to office worker is not as simple as it looks.

About the director

Julio Wallovits started out as an editor for a small agency in Buenos Aires, but in 1991 decided to head for Spain. When he got to Madrid he began working for the successful Slogan ad agency, and was ultimately honoured at festivals in Florence (Grand Prix), Cannes and San Sebastian. In 1994 he moved to Barcelona, where he began writing his own scripts, including a magazine column and a live radio show. In 1997 he moved to Amsterdam where he developed his style as a member of the Art Director Club, wrote for the theatre and began working on the script for Smoking Room. At present another film, Modla, is in the works. Roger Gual studied design in 1992-97, art history at university in Barcelona and he has taken film courses in New York and Cuba. Beginning in 1997 he worked in advertising for Triart Associats, among others, and has been awarded at festivals in New York and Cannes. He then directed commercials for Greenisam in New York and, back in Barcelona, worked in television and for the Internet. He then co-founded a company developing ideas for television and other media. Today he is engaged as a writer and director.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Official Selection - Competition
   
Director: Julio Wallovits, Roger Gual
Screenplay: Julio Wallovits, Roger Gual
Dir. of Photography: Cobi Migliora
Editor: David Gallart
Producer: Joan A. Barjau
Production: El Siudicato, Smoking Room S.L., DeA Planeta, O video
Cast: Antonio Dechent, Juan Diego, Ulises Dumont, Eduard Fernández, Francesc Garrido, Miguel Angel González, Chete Lera, Juan Loriente Pop Molina, Manuel Morón, Francesc Orella, Vicky Peňa
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