Nico and Dani (2000)

Spanish coming-of-age film

Nico and Dani  (Krampack) is a Spanish coming-of-age story involving two 17-year-old boys and their shifting relationship over the course of a summer holiday. When the film begins, Dani’s parents depart for a holiday of their own leaving Dani (Fernando Ramallo) alone at a beach house with just the occasional company of the housekeeper and a tutor. Things begin to improve for Dani, however, when his best friend, Nico (Jordi Vilches) arrives. Nico and Dani are obsessed with sex, and Nico, who has the potential to grow into the role of an adult smooth-talking pick-up machine, has numerous theories about girls and sex. And he can’t wait to try out those theories on another couple of young holidaymakers, Elena (Marieta Orozco) and Berta (Esther Nubiola).

While Nico concocts plans to spend time with the girls, Dani sometimes resents the inclusion of Elena and Berta in their plans. Dani expresses his opinion that he wants to spend time with Nico alone, and Nico–who’s busily creating plans to seduce Elena–just doesn’t understand that. But frustration and boredom await both Nico and Dani at every turn. Consequently, the boys begin a little experimentation on their own, and this leads to a sexual awakening and subsequent understated catharsis for both boys.

The film’s emphasis is on the importance of guidance during these crucial adolescence years. While Nico leaps into male-female relationships with unswerving enthusiasm, Dani does not. The subject matter is treated with a certain amount of tenderness, but the humour factor never becomes trite. Serious undercurrents stress the responsibility of adults when it comes to the issue of sexual orientation, and while Dani’s tutor subtly hints that homosexuality is acceptable, her gay friend, Julian (Chisco Amado) is ready to take it one step further. These are serious life-forming experiences taking place here, and the film never lets the viewer forget that for one moment. From director Cesc Gay, Nico and Dani is in Spanish with English subtitles.

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