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'Nico and Dani'

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 27, 2001


What a strange job I have, in which I can write the word "krámpack" but cannot tell you what it means.

This much I can report: The neologism (the original title for this coming-of-age film by Spanish director Cesc Gay) is a made-up term coined by the 16-year-old title characters to describe a sexual activity best not elaborated upon in a family newspaper.

This much I can also report: Although it's just this side of graphic in its approach to teenage sexual awakening, "Nico and Dani" is also touching, funny, unflinching and true.

Dani (Fernando Ramallo) loves Nico (Jordi Vilches), his best friend from Barcelona, and Nico, who has come to stay with Dani while Dani's parents are out of town, loves Dani back, but not in that way.

It's Elena (Marieta Orozco) that Nico has the hots for, while Elena's cousin, Berta (Esther Nubiola), has the hots for Dani. But did I mention that Dani is gay?

One of the most grown-up views of adolescence I have ever seen, "Nico and Dani" effectively captures the rash impetuousness of that young summer love/lust without pandering to the snickering tastes of the Clearasil market.

As Julian, Chisco Amado plays a much older gay writer who mentors – and then wrestles with a flirtation with – Dani during the boy's coming out.

Far from preachy pap, less than feel-good nostalgia and bluntly accepting of kids as sexual beings, "Nico and Dani" is sure to generate controversy and conversation for its depiction of youths making adult choices (and mistakes), but isn't that what art is supposed to do?

"Nico and Dani" (Unrated, 90 minutes) – In Spanish with subtitles. Contains obscenity, partial nudity, frank sexual situations and dialogue and drug use.


© Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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