JÚLIA IST is a well rounded debut from Elena Martin. Being the writer, director and actress gives her great creative agency over the film and she uses it to achieve a well rounded character portrayal of Júlia and her experience of living abroad.
Júlia is a student from Barcelona using the Erasmus scheme to study in Berlin for a semester. The film depicts the different phases of living abroad: how she and her family and friends react to the prospect of her being away, the arrival, getting used to her new environment and eventually having to reacclimatise to Barcelona. The film shows how this impacts existing relationships and in turn the new friendships and experiences she makes and shares while away.
The film spends a lot of time establishing her arrival in Germany and how she copes with living in another country. The jumps in time are dizzying and disorientating, almost mimicing the feeling of living in a new city; we see Júlia nearly at the end of her stay in Germany before being transported back to her life in Barcelona. Even though the film spends only a short amount of time on her return home, it shows how she has changed as a person as well as having to reacclimatise to being back in Barcelona. Living at home is a different experience since becoming more independent, and as her her old friends make new friends, Júlia finds that she needs to reinsert herself back into their lives.
JÚLIA IST is an intriguing and captivating character portrayal, and proof of Elena Martin’s original voice and filmmaking potential.