Love in thoughts in Rotterdam
by Boyd van Hoeij
Two films presented at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, currently underway, try to capture love on screen – even though this strongest of sentiments may only be a figment of the protagonists’ imagination.
In the Greek Tiger Competition film Tale 52 from director Alexis Alexiou, an apparently schizophrenic man relives the start of his relationship with the same woman several times over, though no two versions are exactly the same.
The cinematic head scratcher is Alexiou’s feature debut, was perhaps made on a shoestring budget but is high on atmosphere. The acting is strong as well, though any psychological impact is dampened by the film’s refusal to be even partially fathomable. Tale 52 was produced by the director’s Tugo Tugo Productions, while international sales are handled by new outfit M-Appeal.
More cheerful though certainly not less schizophrenic is L… Like Love from Slovenian director Janja Glogovac and produced by Fabula, Sirena Film, Synchro Film&Video and with backing from Media Plus and the Slovenian Film Fund.
The film presents the odyssey of a young female filmmaker from Slovenia who has just finished film school in Prague and wants to make a film about love. She tries to use her own life as inspiration but her boyfriend is in Ljubljana and she is in Prague, and when a stash of coke hidden in an oversized matryoshka decorated with Bush’s effigy is thrown into the mix, everything goes haywire.
The female-driven narrative is ebulliently anarchic in the tradition of early Almodóvar, but visually the film is firmly set in the 21st century. The nifty script pokes fun at genre conventions from American cinema by taking them extremely seriously, making the film a treasure trove for film fanatics and lovers of bad taste alike.
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