MUBI is partnering with L.A. OLA, a showcase of the best contemporary independent cinema from Spain, to show several of their films, including Elena Martín's Júlia Ist (2017), on MUBI in June and July, 2018.
The story of Júlia Ist comes from a desire to portray a youth experience in a very direct and immediate way.
While studying at a public university in Barcelona, and even though the idea of making a first feature film seemed impossible, four 21 year-old friends decided to tell a story about our first time living abroad away from our families and homes. We wanted to draw a very intimate picture of our time on Erasmus.
Just like Júlia in the film, I went to Berlin on a student exchange. I felt it was important to tell the internal aspect of the trip, which is different from the common misconception that a student exchange is just a break period for having fun. It is also important to tell the story of a second adolescence experienced by many young southern Europeans that are forced to stay in their homes as long as they can and only leave for love or to live in a different city or country. Even if the four authors of the film (Marta Cruañas, Pol Rebaque, Maria Castellvi and me) and other classmates had travelled to very diverse destinations, we shared the feeling or reaching a turning point, that was mainly connected to a model of overprotective family so distinctive of the Spanish culture, but also to a disenchantment towards Barcelona, our city, caused by an economic and cultural crisis that felt very substantial.
In this scenario, I was willing to explore a series of identity conflicts of a girl who had not yet made any decisions on her own terms. I wanted Júlia to be forced to confront her reality outside her comfort zone: What is her situation in relation to her parents, what are her expectations on romance and relationships and how much does she value her friendships, and wether or not she is passionate about the career path she has chosen: architecture.
Júlia ist tries to be a personal and collective diary and a portrait of Berlin and our friends. Initially made without a budget and then accomplished through Lastor Media and Antaviana Films, it is a film that exists thanks to the synergy of a generation that operates across different European cities in order to create more powerful collaborations. The team, from casting to photography and musicians has been established from an extended network of artists and friends that keep on collaborating on different fields like theatre, music and film.