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Film / Room in Rome

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A 2010 Spanish film directed by Julio Medem. Two women go to one's hotel room after meeting in a bar earlier, where they end up having a tryst. One, Natasha (Natasha Yarovenko) is Russian, the other, Alba (Elena Anaya), is Spanish, and they are both soon to be leaving for their respective countries the following morning. The circumstances of their meeting is left vague. While in the room they exchange stories about their lives, many of them false, but maybe with a grain of truth behind them, and grow closer as the night wears on.

The film was shot on a small budget. The entire action takes place in that single room and the entire story is driven by the acting and dialogue of the two leads.

During the course of the action each character takes on many different names. The article will refer to them by the names that they first give to each other: Alba and Natasha.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Natasha's father sexually abused her sister and ended up traumatizing both of them. Given that she pretends she's her twin, it's possible Natasha (or both) is the one who had actually suffered the abuse.
  • Always Identical Twins: Natasha has a twin that is completely identical to her. She seems to enjoy assuming her identity in her stories, including the more squicky parts.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Alba and Natasha talk about separating from their partners and leaving their previous lives so they can stay together in Rome; in the moment's enthusiasm Alba mentions how she wants to see Natasha run, and Natasha promises she will. Eventually, however, Natasha can't bring herself to leave everything behind, so they agree to keep the secret and go their separate ways. They walk away from each other after holding hands for one last time - and right when you'd expect the credits to roll, Natasha calls out to Alba and runs across the screen in her direction. Is she just keeping her promise to let Alba see her run, or has she changed her mind and is enacting a dramatic, life-altering decision? You decide.
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  • Ambiguously Bi: Natasha seems to be bi, as she insists she's into men but has sex with Alba more than once that she clearly enjoys, and flirted with her before. However, neither discusses her orientation, and since Natasha says she's never been attracted to a woman before it's obviously still new to her. Given that a lot of what she says is dubious, some or all of this may be an act too.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Five different languages are spoken over the course of the film. English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and Basque. Not all versions of the film have subtitles to translate these different languages. If you can understand Russian and Spanish, though (or get a version with subtitles), you can get some pretty interesting revelations. At one point the two leads start talking to each other in their native tongues, and it becomes clear that Natasha has her own Bilingual Bonus going on: while Alba mostly gives some generic revelations about how she feels in the situation, Natasha's dialogue is a response to Alba's - because while the latter can't speak Russian, Natasha speaks fluent Italian and understands Spanish. Alba calls her out on this later on.
  • Butch Lesbian: Alba has short hair and wears pretty masculine clothing. It's downplayed however as nothing else about her is that butch.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: Alba and Natasha jump on the bed briefly pelting each other with pillows as they laugh in a moment of childish glee.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Max the waiter. He’s all excited when he thinks he’s going to have a threesome with the women, but it doesn’t happen. The next morning, however, he’s delighted that they’ve clearly got it on during the night, and even serenades them with some opera before leaving them to their breakfast.
  • Closet Key: Natasha tells Alba she's never been interested in a woman before her, though like everything she says this may not be true.
  • Death of a Child: Alba relates that her partner's son recently died in an accident, tearing up as she does. It's made clear Alba feels guilty about this, as she was watching him, and it drove a rift between them.
  • Disappeared Dad: Assuming it's true, Alba tells Natasha that her Spanish mother ran away for home after her birth, because she'd faced essentially living as a captive of her Arab father. From what is said, Alba's never met him.
  • Fantasy Sequence: Alba imagines herself being shot in the heart by Cupid's arrow near the end, symbolizing her having fallen for Natasha.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Max sure thinks so. He's delighted when he thinks Alba is offering to have a threesome with him and Natasha. However, even learning she isn't, he's still very happy to realize they got it on.
  • Hairy Girl: Neither of the female protagonists have shaved their pubic hair, as we see from their copious nude scenes. This is Truth in Television for many European women, unlike the American fashion.
  • Kinky Spanking: At one point, Alba sits behind a laptop and searches up Natasha's house, and Natasha soon joins her, both of them nude. When Alba sees it, she remarks that if Natasha really lives there, then she will spank her. Natasha responds by taking Alba's hand and using it to spank her own rear. Alba remarks how firm Natasha's behind feels.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Alba sees a painting and uses the story of the painting as her own backstory. Natasha calls her on this.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Natasha might be a lipstick bisexual, although she doesn't use the term, given her intense tryst with Alba while also being engaged to a man in Russia. She has on a very stylish dress to start, with long hair, and is quite feminine overall in her manner.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: The video we see of Alba's partner indicates she has a more feminine style, while Alba dresses fairly masculine.
  • Maybe Ever After: Alba and Natasha admit their love for each other, saying they've never loved anyone like this. They go their separate ways however at the end though... before turning back and reuniting, possibly for something long term.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Natasha covers up this way when Max comes to their room.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alba and Natasha. They spend most of the film naked and when they're naked, it's usually accompanied by them having sex or being intimate together. When they decide to cover up, it's only barely, and their legs are usually completely uncovered.
  • No Bisexuals: Natasha refers to Alba and then herself "becoming a lesbian" at various points. The possibility of either being bisexual isn't brought up, despite having relationships with men (though in Alba's case that turns out to be false, and she later calls herself a "lesbian from birth").
  • One Head Taller: Natasha is much taller than Alba, who only comes up to about her shoulder.
  • Parental Incest: Natasha says her father had molested her sister. However, as she pretends she's her sister, it's possible he'd molested her (or both).
  • Queer Romance: The film is about a woman from Spain and a woman from Russia who meet in Rome and have a one-night stand. The women discuss art, literature, and their lives, but it soon becomes clear that one or both is lying.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Alba dons a shirt she finds in her hotel room at one point.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Alba couldn't care less that a stranger (Max) sees her naked, in stark contrast with Natasha who's far more shy and hesitant about being nude with her even privately.
  • Shower of Love: Alba and Natasha have sex in the shower toward the end of the film.
  • Three-Way Sex: Averted. Poor Max comes up, completely misunderstanding Alba's (very literal) request for toys, and thinks the girls want this. He's bitterly disappointed, though he manages to leave with some dignity.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alba has short hair and masculine clothing, while Natasha's long-haired with highly feminine clothing.
  • Twin Switch: Natasha pretends to be her sibling at first before confessing that she was telling her sister's story. Or maybe her sister's story was the real story, who knows (she is an Unreliable Expositor).
  • Unreliable Expositor: Many of the stories the two women tell are explicitly not true. Others are left up to the audience to decide on their veracity.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Averted. Natasha, in particular, is in full makeup throughout and it never even gets smudged, even after she and Alba have had sex in the shower.


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