Based on writer Albert Espinosa's own experiences as a teenager in a hospital cancer ward, 4th Floor follows the relationships of a gang of wheelchair-bound teenage boys - "the baldies" - who live together in the cancer ward on the fourth floor of a hospital. The boys all have remarkably positive attitudes, and are determined to defy the misfortune that life has dealt them. There are new patients whose acquaintances are worth making, nurses at whom they can poke fun, a basketball team to run and nightly saunters down the hospital corridors. There's even love to be found a few floors up! Flipping between comedy and tragedy, this touching tale of friendship manages to remain upbeat despite its grave subject matter. Written by
Even with the incredible modern findings in medicine, cancer still belies our power to do anything but hope for the best. And it's something no one ever takes lightly. Except if you're a teenager in dire straits.
The story has already been told elsewhere in these comments, so I'll turn this one into a different approach: the realism of our films (I'm Spanish, live in Mexico and been for quite a time in Italy and the United States).
When you watch a piece of work like Planta 4a, you're reminded that film is a medium where you print a story. And if that story is good, has human characters that make you feel related to them, is believable (even when the necessary suspension of disbelief just started as the lights go down) and, more than anything, puts you IN the story, film has reached its goal.
The film industry in Spain, in Italy, in France, or elsewhere in Europe (including the former "Eastern Bloc" countries) is much more independent, more personal, more lively and direct than your typical season's blockbuster.
With Planta 4a, Espinosa and Mercero have made a passionate masterpiece of compassion and sympathy out of a pretty serious subject: cancer.
I expect people who read our comments (all of the comments expressed here), especially all who are more in sync with Hollywood films, to dare and explore what our Old World has to offer. I firmly believe that European cinema is, again, at its best since the late '90's. This film is no exception. You'll simply find a piece of life brought into your own living room. Enjoy!
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