Directed by Matthew Hannam, Paseo tells the story of Alice, an alienated young woman looking for answers in a foreign city. Alone in Barcelona, Alice is looking for personal fulfillment but lacking in connections. However, when her search for meaning leads her into unfamiliar territory,
It is amazing how much story can be told within a brief period of time. In a mere 14 minutes, Hannam weaves a narrative that is both compelling and complex. Viewing the city through Alice’s overwhelmed eyes, never has Barcelona looked more alienating or bleak. In a decision that clearly mirrors Alice’s journey, the city’s colours bleed into one another and the music is muted. In essence, it’s a city that would be easy to become lost within.
Of course, the film’s power stems from an incredible performance from Gadon who brings authenticity to the piece in each frame. Having also co-written the film with Hannam, Gadon portrays Alice as a woman lost in a foreign land and lost within herself. She is a woman who seems to lack nothing financially or relationally, yet seems disconnected from her life in a way that strips her of her joy.
Though brief, there’s something heartbreaking about Alice’s journey in Paseo. Wandering through Barcelona, she seems to speak for many whom wander through life without a meaningful sense of connectness. While life is happening all around her, Alice seems unable to feel anything but lifeless. One wonders what she seems to be lacking, or even if she knows what that may be. In many ways, it’s a journey that feels true to many, especially in a world of increasing isolation in the midst of chaos. As a result, there’s an authenticity to Paseo that speaks to the need for genuine relationships that bring comfort in the eye of the storm.
For full audio of our interview with Sarah Gadon and Matthew Hannam, click here.
Paseo is currently playing at TIFF.