Saturday, February 4, 2012

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)
Loverboy (2011)

Genre: Drama
Director: Catalin Mitulescu
Starring: George Pistereanu, Ada Condeescu
Language: Romanian
Duration: 95 min.
Rating: 7.6  

Luca seduces girls and then leaves them in the hands of his friends at the Black Sea port of Constanta. But when he meets the beautiful and exuberant Veli, Luca falls in love... It's summer down the Danube river. The music is loud, the cars are fancy, the girls are tanned and Veli runs away from home to Luca's bed. First love has never felt more dangerous.

Loverboy is the second feature film from Romanian New Wave writer/director Catalin Mitulescu (How I Celebrated the End of the World).  It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Mitulescu, who co-wrote last year's Berlin Silver Bear winner If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, reunites the two leads from that film, George Pistereanu and Ada Condeescu, for this chilling portrait of Luca, a young man involved in the seedy world of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, and his latest victim Veli, a naive rural girl who he ends up falling for, but he finds it just might be too late for him to change his ways.

Perhaps a bit of a precautionary tale, we have the classic bad-boy Luca, who easily seduces young girls with his carefree bravado and boyish charm.  Slick and cool, he cruises his small town helmetless on his scooter impressing his current target, the innocent teenager Veli.  A master manipulator, he warns her "if you were smart, you would stay away from me", and she instinctively reacts by moving even closer. Their relationship begins according to plan, cruising to the seaside resort of Constanta in a borrowed sports car and spending the night on a canopy bed out on the beach.  Inexplicably, Luca soon finds himself slowly falling for her.  He brings her home, something he never does, according to his friends, and he even visits her at her family's farm.  For awhile they live a simple dream life at his meager garage beside the highway, but Luca has debts and they need to be paid, is love enough to change his ways? Or will he do what he's always done and sell her to the highest bidder? 

Both Pistereanu and Condeescu give solid impressive performances, and their excellent on-screen chemistry, aided no doubt by their previous work together, is apparent from start to finish.  These are completely natural and believable characters and their relationship successfully carries the film.  Mitulescu directs in the minimalist yet meticulous way we've come to expect from Romanian cinema, filming his characters in a series of seemingly mundane daily situations all with a grimy realistic look.  It is a difficult disturbing watch at times, we as the audience are made fully aware early on, about just who Luca is and of the monstrosities he is capable of, so it's impossible to root for his character, but just like Veli we can't help but stay and watch what happens.

It's another captivating Romanian drama that plays out with no forced melodrama and no preaching to the choir, but in the end it does leave us questioning what exactly was he trying to say here.

Bonjour Tristesse

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)

Loverboy (2011)


G said...

fine looking leading lady...and available on

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah more of a behind the scenes clip than a trailer.

The Reel Foto said...

That was... a strange trailer....

d_4 said...

It sounds.. interesting. I like it when a movie can confuse my emotions so I'll be looking forward to this.

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