If you’ve had the fortune of visiting Granada, Spain, you must be in love with the city. It’s simply impossible not to fall under the spell of its hundreds-of-years-old blend of Islamic and Christian architecture, music, and overall ambiance. If that’s you, I have a movie that will bring up memories. If it isn’t, GRANADA NIGHTS will make you move it up on your places-to-visit list.
GRANADA NIGHTS is a love letter to Granada, a journey of self-discovery, and also a love story set against the backdrop of the gorgeous city. The film tells the story of Ben, a young British-Asian tourist who is surprise-visiting his girlfriend. Ben is immediately heartbroken and is left feeling lost and abandoned. It’s at this point that he befriends a group of young international students and eccentric locals. He pushes himself to explore new experiences, far outside his comfort-zone, trying to restart his life. Yet, behind every corner, there’s a reminder of his ex and the struggle to find closure.
GRANADA NIGHTS celebrates the integration and creativity of a generation that can transcend borders and forge new alliances. As an international student instructor, I see daily the quick alliances that these students make, and the way they support one another in lieu of their families and friends. This film portrays how their rapid acquaintance, even when the permanence in each other’s lives is often short, results in an experience that shapes the rest of their lives. Reflecting the film’s themes of cultural exploration, the soundtrack sways from Arabic ouds and flamenco guitars to the English indie bass.
This is the directorial debut of writer-director Abid Khan, who brought his own experiences as an international student to the project. “One late summer in 2006, I took a last minute sabbatical to Granada, Spain, to study Spanish for a month,” he wrote. “As I walked the ancient streets that held a thousand stories, I fell in love with this magical city and the exotic cultures that inhabit the city. But it was the friendships with other young foreigners that kept me there for a year longer and had a profound effect on my life. Ever since I have been obsessed with capturing the magic of this city and the fleetness of youth.”