L'Auberge Espagnole

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L'Auberge espagnole
French theatrical release poster
Directed by Cédric Klapisch
Produced by Bruno Levy
Written by Cédric Klapisch
Starring Romain Duris
Judith Godrèche
Audrey Tautou
Cinematography Dominique Colin
Edited by Francine Sandberg
Distributed by Mars Distribution (France)
Filmax International (Spain)
Release dates
17 May 2002 (2002-05-17)
Running time
122 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €5 million[1]
Box office $31 million[2]

L'Auberge Espagnole (/lˈbɛərʒ ˌɛspənˈjl, -pæn-/;[3] literally: "the Spanish inn"; released in some English-speaking territories as Pot Luck or The Spanish Apartment) is a 2002 French-Spanish film directed and written by Cédric Klapisch. It is a co-production between Spain (Mate Producciones S.A., Via Digital) and France (BAC Films, Ce qui me meut, France 2 Cinéma, Studio Canal).[4][5]

It is about Xavier (actor Romain Duris), an economics graduate student studying for a year in Barcelona, Spain as part of the Erasmus programme, where he encounters and learns from a group of students who hail from all over Western Europe. It is the first part of the self-titled "Spanish Apartment Trilogy" of films centered on the character of Xavier and his progression from student to family man and friends he initially encounters in a student share-house in Spain.

The film's portrayal is in the first-person perspective of the main character, Xavier, and is hence mainly narrated in French. Some of the dialogue is in English and a significant amount is in Spanish, as well as small amounts in Catalan, Danish, German and Italian.

L'Auberge Espagnole is the first part of the Spanish Apartment trilogy, its two sequels being: Russian Dolls (2005) and Chinese Puzzle (2013).[6]


Xavier (Romain Duris), a 24-year-old French student, leaves his country for the ERASMUS programme in Barcelona as part of his professional pursuits, despite it being against the wishes of his girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou). On the flight there, he meets a young French couple, a doctor and his wife (Anne-Sophie), who let him stay in their home while he searches for an apartment. Xavier manages to find an apartment with other students from England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Denmark, creating an ambiance of chaos and culture shock. The roommates begin to develop a unique companionship as they struggle together through their cultural and linguistic challenges in their program. Martine pays Xavier a visit and returns disappointed when she realizes things are not the same. Meanwhile, Xavier develops a romantic affair with the French doctor's wife, seducing her using tips he has been learning from his Belgian lesbian roommate, Isabelle (Cécile de France). The English roommate Wendy's brother William visits for some time and turns out to be quite abrasive with his culturally insensitive comments, creating tension among the roommates. Martine eventually breaks up with Xavier, bringing him to depression and hallucinations. When Xavier seeks the French doctor's advice, the doctor reveals that Anne-Sophie confessed everything to him, and tells Xavier to stop seeing her. As discord among the roommates escalates, their friendship is repaired as they team up to help Wendy elude a sticky situation (her boyfriend Alister makes a surprise visit while she was hooking up with an American). After leaving Barcelona and bidding farewell to his many close friends, Xavier returns to Paris and gets the job at the Ministry, but realizes he misses his experiences that now have made him a different person. He subsequently runs away on his first day on the job and pursues his dream to become a writer, recounting the story of his experiences in the Auberge Espagnole.


Meaning of the title[edit]

The phrase auberge espagnole literally means "Spanish inn" or "Spanish hostel". It is a French idiomatic expression originally referring to a place where you can only eat what you bring (originally, an inn so suspect that guests were advised to bring their own food and drink) and, by extension, a place or situation where you only find what you brought.[7] A second, more neutrally connoted and recent interpretation of the phrase is a dinner diversified by the fact that each guest has contributed some part of the meal; this suggests the English-language idea of a "potluck," earning the film this title in some English-speaking areas. A third meaning of auberge espagnole is a common resting area for travelers from a variety of different cultures and regions.[8] The more direct translation as "The Spanish Apartment" is also playing on the French phrase, since the main characters are all literally sharing an apartment in Spain.


L'Auberge Espagnole features a diverse soundtrack, which includes:

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 77%, based on 91 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "This multicultural comedy captures the chaos and excitement of being young."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Brisbane International Film Festival Audience Award Won
César Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Cédric Klapisch Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Judith Godrèche Nominated
Most Promising Actress Cécile de France Won
Best Writing Cédric Klapisch Nominated
Best Editing Francine Sandberg Nominated
European Film Awards People's Choice Award for Best European Film Nominated
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Audience Award Won
Lumières Awards Best Screenplay Cédric Klapisch Won
Most Promising Actress Cécile de France Won
Sydney Film Festival Audience Award Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards Best Foreign Language Film Nominated


  1. ^ "L'Auberge espagnole". JP's Box-Office. 
  2. ^ "L'Auberge Espagnole". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  3. ^ "Auberge". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22.  "Espagnole". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283900/companycredits
  5. ^ "L'Auberge espagnole - Cinémathèque française" (in French). La Bibliothèque du film. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  6. ^ lefigaro.fr (2012-09-11). "Cédric Klapisch tourne Casse-tête chinois à New York". Le Figaro. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  7. ^ Aline Angoustures (2004). L'Espagne. Le Cavalier Bleu. p. 117. ISBN 978-2-84670-078-8. 
  8. ^ Planelles, Georges (2013). "Une auberge espagnole". Expressio.fr. 
  9. ^ "L'Auberge Espagnole (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  10. ^ "L'Auberge Espagnole reviews". Metacritic. 

External links[edit]