Spanish film about bar shooting shows how people react in extreme situations

By Michelle Martin

By Michelle Martin

BERLIN (Reuters) - A Spanish film that depicts a shooting in a Madrid bar explores how people react in extreme situations - a scenario that is a reality in Europe as militants have staged attacks in Paris and other places.

"El Bar", directed by Alex de la Iglesia and screened at the Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday, shows a man being gunned down as he leaves a bar and another man who goes to help also being shot.

"If you're confronting death, your very basic instincts are aroused and in this film it's really about survival for all of us," said Blanca Suarez, who plays one of the bar's customers.

Director de la Inglesia said the film - which is peppered with humorous moments - was a "comedy of terror" and reflected a situation faced by people in Europe and elsewhere in which they are trapped with no exit route as fear and anxiety increase.

After the shooting, the remaining customers wonder whether there is a gunman on a nearby roof, if a terrorist is going to kill them all, and if this attack will end up like the attack on Paris in 2015 in which 130 people were killed.

They panic and turn on each other - sometimes with a gun - as they attempt to work out who the killer is. Police seal off the bar, a sick man found in the bathroom dies, the bar is torched and they are forced into the sewers to retrieve medicine.

De la Inglesia said he was already writing the script for "El Bar" when Islamist militants attacked the Bataclan concert hall, cafes and bars in Paris in Nov. 2015. But he said the attack was on his mind while he worked on the film.

"It's come closer to us in a very violent way and we felt we were protected before but the fear and the terror are always there in life and there are times in our life maybe when you're not aware of it every day but you cannot deny the fear and the terror now," he said.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Angus MacSwan)