Crossing Borders (2006) Poster

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Spaniards in Switzerland
jotix10013 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Spain in the 1950s and 1960s was still a poor country. Like Italians, Portuguese, in other less industrialized European nations, Spaniards that couldn't make a decent living in their own country emigrated to Germany, Switzerland, and France, where there were more possibilities for them. The idea was for the head of a family to go, start working, save as much as he could to send it back home.

Martin and Pilar, a young couple, have to live with his parents in the basement apartment in the building where the older man is the super. Pilar, who had her eye in a new building in the outskirts of the city has given a deposit for the apartment she thinks is her salvation from living with the in-laws. Imagine Martin's surprise when he learns she has spent their savings for the down payment for an apartment and he has just been laid off.

Marcos, one of Martin's friend, also unemployed, tells him about his intention of emigrating to Switzerland. He has heard mechanics are needed for the Swiss factories. Without no working permission the two embark in the adventure of their lives. They must leave family behind and enter Switzerland without work permits; both men are lucky not to be sent back home. The small town they decide to try their luck has a small factory where they eventually land jobs.

Martin and Marcos are not prepared for the shock they receive in a country that proves to be as different from theirs like day and night. They land jobs, eventually. They have settled in a small pension in town where Hannah, the woman who runs the place doesn't understand her guests. The result result in funny situations where the Spaniards' more affable character prove to be a winning card for them. Loneliness proves to be hard for the men as their spouses are so far. Martin has an involvement with the kind Hannah.

Pilar, who has decided on her own to go to Switzerland to join her husband, has spent a year's worth of remittances from Martin in the apartment that she supposedly has bought, but in reality she was duped from an unscrupulous building agent. When Pilar arrives, she senses how her husband has been having an affair, but nothing much comes out of it when they find an apartment of their own. Their life takes a nice rhythm in their new adopted country. Years go by, and after Martin's father's death, they decide to go back home, a sad mistake for the whole family.

Carlos Iglesias, who wrote, directed, and starred in this film, is someone new to us. His nostalgic look at what appears to be a biographic picture, has some great moments that reflect a bygone Spain, a poor country during the years where the action takes place. The film is a hymn to those men that went to make a living, living family and friends behind. It's clear Mr. Iglesias knows what he is talking about and what comes out in the film is a loving tribute to those men who sacrificed it all in order to help their impoverished families.

The director, who plays Martin, has some good moments in the film, especially the beginning of his life in the new country. Javier Gutierrez is also quite appealing as Marcos. Nieves DeMedina, is seen as Pilar, in a touching performance. Isabel Blanco, who plays Hannah, was a surprise.

"Un franco, 14 pesetas" proves the point that for some emigrants that try to go back home find it almost impossible to adapt themselves to a pace and an atmosphere in the old country that seems alien to them now, as it's the case with Martin's son who can't adapt himself to the Spanish ways. These people have invested a lot of their lives in a new culture and adapted with a lot of effort, so going back is not exactly easy for most of them. Leaving comforts for an uncertain life back home is not something most of these families would even consider.
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Funny and beautiful
pinkchica13 November 2006
It was my first Spanish movie and I had no idea what to expect, but I'm so glad I chose it in the end, I found it so much more interesting and entertaining than the other movies i'm used to. I am definitely going to see if I can find some more of Carlos Iglesias - I absolutely loved him.

A wonderful movie, beautifully filmed, with light yet very effective humour. The actors are simply perfect, the story flows at the right pace, and you enjoy the movie from beginning to end. Offers a great contrast between the lives of the Spanish and the swiss in the 1960's. A Spanish must-see.
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sensitivity and realism
antonia-2216 June 2006
I enjoyed the movie "Un Franco, 14 pesetas," because of the way it explores the topic of emigration from the perspective of the emigrant, and because of the way it combines humor and respect towards the emigrants. I think this movie can be dedicated to all those who have emigrated to another country, but also to those who returned to their own countries, which some times ends up being unexpectedly more difficult than emigrating. These day, when Spain is a country receiving immigrants, this is a unavoidable look into the past: when Spaniards emigrated to more progressive Northern European countries looking for a better life, and leaving a dirty poor country behind. It is a comedy which brought tears to my eyes, not because it was dramatic, but because of its real portray of simple feelings. I think the acting of Carlos Iglesias and Javer Gutierrez was impressive. But the actress that touched me the most was Isabel Blanco as Hanna.
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Great story and great theme
slud118 November 2006
The theme is so subtly developed, one doesn't realize it's really about the emigrant experience until almost the end. For most of the film, it's 'just' a story, and a great one. Everything is cleverly subtle. For example, the protagonist doesn't come from misery and extreme poverty, nor is he poorly educated (all characteristics of the stereotypical emigrant). He's not fleeing from political oppression (at least overtly). He's just trying to get ahead.

It's rare to see emigration from the point of view of the emigrant. This film could be required viewing in the U.S. before making disparaging remarks about immigrants.

It is also always a pleasure to see an entire film where adolescent angst plays no part.
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Enjoyable biographic movie well written , played and directed by Carlos Iglesias
ma-cortes16 July 2012
Carlos Iglesias's first big-screen full-length movie as filmmaker, "Un Franco, Catorce Pesetas" (Crossing Borders, 2006), was a hit among viewers . Marcos (Javier Gutierrez) and Martin (Carlos Iglesias) are two good workers in the Spain of the 60's , but without job . In Spain there's no job , there's no cash , and there's no option for the poor people but to emigrate to a foreign country and attempting to encounter work . The two friends say goodbye their families and go abroad . There takes place the problems to adapt into Switzerland ; but later on , they discover a new and agreeable life .

This interesting film is full of humor , drama , touching scenes and good feeling . It is a simple , dramatic and humorous portrait of a time when the Spanish had to go other countries in order to encounter a work . Carlos Iglesias's first big-screen full-length movie as director, "Un Franco, Catorce Pesetas", was a success among spectators, as well as a hit smash in the various film festivals it took part in . The movie plot about the life of Spanish immigrants in Switzerland in the late 1960s is based on his parents' as well as his own experience as an immigrant and adequately showing us how was the life of that time . Actors are frankly magnificent with a first-rate acting for whole cast . Sensational Carlos Iglesias along with the wife played Nieve De Medina and Isabel Blanco as Hanna , among others . Moving and stirring musical score by Mario De Benito . Colorful cinematography by Tote Trenas who shows splendidly the ambient by that time . The story has wide relation with Ispansi!" (literally 'Spaniards!' in Russian, 2010) , his second movie as director that deals with children in Russia and there repeat most actors as Nieve de Medina , Isabel Blanco , Eloísa Vargas , Isabelle Stoffel and of course Carlos Iglesias .

The motion picture was very well directed by Carlos Iglesias . He's a good actor and filmmaker . Having attended Madrid's Royal School for Dramatic Art, in the 1980s Carlos Iglesias played mainly in both classic and contemporary theatrical plays . Among others, in 1982 he played a part in Carlo Goldoni's "Arlequín, Servidor dos Amos", under Ángel Gutiérrez's direction and, with the same director, in Chejov's "Polinka". He worked in 1983 under director Balaguer in Lauro Olmo's play "Pablo Iglesias"; in Valle-Inclán's "Los Cuernos de Don Friolera" ; in 1987 in Federico García Lorca's "El Público" ; in 1990-91 in Jean Genet's "Ella",; and in 1992 in Valle-Inclán's "Las galas del Difunto", , among many other theater venues .From the early 90s onwards, Carlos Iglesias opted mainly for television shows of all different kinds: drama productions (in José Ramón Larraz's "Goya"; in Mario Camus's "La Forja De Un Rebelde"; in Luis García Berlanga's "Blasco Ibáñez"); TV series (in Vicente Escrivá's "Éste es mi barrio" and "Manos a Obra"; also in "Siete Vidas" and "Cuéntame Cómo Pasó" ; and as main actor in various TV shows, such as "Esta Noche Cruzamos el Mississippi". For the big screen, he was cast for Pedro Costa's movie "El Caso Almería" (1983); for Jaime Camino's "Dragón Rapide" (1986); or Pedro Pinzola's "Siempre Felices" (1991). Recently, he has acted as Sancho Panza in Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón's "El Caballero don Quijote" (2002) and in José Luis Garci's "Ninette" (2005), alongside Elsa Pataky. Rating ¨Un Franco 14 Pesetas¨ : 7'5 , worthwhile watching , essential and indispensable seeing for Spanish cinema buffs .
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Good Movie
dcldan29 May 2007
Marcos and Martin are two workers in the Spain of the 60's. There's no work, there's no money, and there's no option for the people but to emigrate to Switzerland and trying to find work there. There, the difficulties to adapt into a foreign country and discover a new life there. Perfectly showing us how was the live of that time, the movie is a portrait of a time were the Spanish had to go to another country in order to find a job. Touching and moving it is a quite good movie which has unexpected good acting and a good directing. It is a fresh surprise in the Spanish cinema and it is curious to see that a comedian is able to change and direct and act so good in a drama. Probably one of the best Spanish film of its year and, surprisingly, it passed unawared by most of the people.
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Poignant narration of life as an immigrant
aurishka5823 March 2007
I saw this touching film last year when I was in Spain. I highly recommend it - moving story , luscious scenery, realistic situations, sensitive characters, all in unforgettable film! Portrays the life of immigrants and how torn one can be between one's new country and one's past life..... The main actor understood this very well because he directed the film which I believe was based on his own experiences as a child. It won several Goya awards in Spain. Many people who have left their country for a better life will be able to identify with this film. My heart was aching somewhat when I left the theater and I even wished the characters all the best!
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Good work!
minderroland9 December 2006
A must seen movie! If your parents are emigrants or you are the child of emigrants (as in my case) you will be pleased to see your childhood again. In the beginning very funny the film changes to be more and more sad and complex. But this is no problem, it is our life that is like that. If you know Sppain and Switzerland you will be pleased to watch the movie, because it is really very close to reality. Carlos Iglesias I didn't know before I have seen this movie but I am forward to seeing more of his work. I have seen the movie without knowing at all what it would be about and that was absolutely good for me, because I was immediately taken away by the story. I live in Switzerland and my mom's from Spain, so I was kind of privileged to see the movie because I know both countries very well. But I think this is not necessary for every spectator. It is just a very good, very sensitive but also funny movie. Enjoy it!
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Sweet and funny. One of the best Spanish films of 2006
el_monty_BCN3 September 2006
It is a curious coincidence that a TV comedian, José Corbacho, was behind one of last year's best Spanish films, Tapas, and this year it is again another TV funnyman, Carlos Iglesias, who brings us the cream of the crop. They both became famous on Spanish TV for their absurd, laugh-out-loud comic personas, but have chosen a more cerebral route for their directorial filmic debuts, making comedies with dramatic undertones, and in both cases the results have been artistic triumphs.

Iglesias's little joy of a film, based largely on his own life experiences as the son of Spanish emigrants, is simply delightful in every detail. The story flows along effortlessly and the characters are developed with loving care, and once the film ends one cannot help but want it to go on longer, which is the mark of all good storytelling. I was already a fan of Iglesias in his "Pepelu" times of the 90s, but if the quality of his film career stays at this level, he will surely make us forget his time on TV.
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Carlos more than an excellent actor
huinconsult29 May 2007
I worked with Carlos in the TV Series of Vicente Escriva "MANOS A LA OBRA" and at that time Carlos was thinking of writing his own story about his family immigration to Switzerland. I saw the film at the premiere in the Malaga festival ( where it was awarded as best film) and I have to say that Carlos Iglesias is not only an excellent actor but also a good writer with sense and sensibility as well as a paramount director.The film reproduces the real feelings of the Spanish immigrants in the 50's with the delicacy,cheerfulness, sadness and a bit touch of frustration of the people who had to leave their own country to look for a better way of living. I have to say that I do deeply love the story and the performance of everyone's involved. Carlos keep going this way hope we can see soon another of your films. All the best for you and your nice family.I would not mind to work with you again.
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funny and hard
Meli22 September 2006
I've seen this movie during our last trip to Spain. My girlfriend and I we can feel very good into the characters of this brilliant movie, because our parents where immigrated to Austria and Switzerland during this period. Her parents come from Spain and my father is from Italy, my mother from Austria. I was born about 10 miles away from Schwellbrunn, where this movie was filmed. So it is not Uzwil, like people in the movie said. But anyway. This movie shows the same thing, that our parents' happened in such a funny and for the same time hard way, that everybody must see this movie. My Spanish (like my English) is very bad but a big part of the movie was in Swiss German. That's why I loved this movie. You can understand the most part of this movie, when you speak Swiss German! What I extremely love in this movie is the switch of languages. So as Martin said, that nobody is in the firm because they are at the party or exhibition with party (feria-Spanish) he explained it badly, then in Swiss German he said, they are in holidays (Ferien-Swiss German). Or another example was as Hannah said in her bad Italian, that it is on the upper-floor (sobre piano-Italian) Martin translated Marcos this as they have a piano left (piano-Spanish).

So this movie is perfect for immigrants who understand a bit of Spanish and Swiss German. But also everybody else will love this movie.
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Natural and realistic
ih555 October 2013
A well balanced film, reflecting the reality of emigration for Spaniards. A light drama with touches of intelligent humour. A joy to watch, learn and have an occasional laugh. As a brit living in Spain for many years, it's wonderful to see how Spanish movies have evolved so well from the old "españoladas" (the local derogatory label for Spanish slapstick films), to intelligent and excellent quality jobs like this one. This was my second "adventure" with Carlos Iglesias, after watching his extremely humanistic "Ispansi" (Spanish refugees in Russia during the Spanish Civil War). I'm now looking forward to watching his latest production "¿Cómo está el Franco?".
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Honest approach to Spanish immigration of the 1950s
Imdbidia15 February 2011
Crossing Borders... is A Spanish-Switzerland comedy released in 2006 that tells the story of two couples of Spanish immigrants in Switzerland in the 1950s based in the autobiographical experience of the actor and director Carlos Iglesias.

This is a very sweet, funny, honest and intimate film about the lives of those Spaniards who migrated to Switzerland and other European countries in the 1950s and 1960s. It is faithful to real events, and shows the issues that affected those people when leaving their country, the pros and cons of being an Spanish emigrant, and of the country of origin and the country of reception. Especially good is the depiction of the feelings of alienation, loneliness, cultural and emotional isolation, distrust by the locals, but also how hard was going back home for those who decided to return and resettle.

All the cast is good in their performances, especially Nieves de Medina as Pilar and Isabel Blanco as Hanna.

The movie is unpretentious, talks about serious issues using comedy, and has heart. I think it will reach immigrants from any part of the world, but also any viewer wanting to see something different from Spain and about Spain recent history.
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