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Liternet - Love sick – simply beautiful! (Laura Popescu)

I write under the influence, right after I saw Love Sick (opening on April 7th in Bucharest, after opening on the 6th in Cluj) and I understand very well why the promotion of the film was done on a blog. It’s a pity people are still not so much into blogs here, in Romania. This love sick story is like a blog and it’s on a blog that it deserves to be criticized, in a place where people haven’t learned yet how to "look good". A few hours have passed since I saw the film and my mood changed. If in the beginning you feel like keeping quiet so that you don’t lose any of the flavor you got left with, a few hours later it’s the complete opposite, you are over spilling, and this film really deserves not to be passed by unnoticed. I didn’t read Cecilia Ştefănescu’s book, I speak from the category "seen film, not read book".

Alex is a Humanities major country girl that moves in with her colleague, Kiki, in a room, in a block of flats. The girls become close and their friendship doesn’t just stay a simple friendship. They involve everything around them into their love story – the long film days, from the "matinee" to the late night show, ditching class, the Meli Melo presents, the rooftop sun showers, the nights spent together among teddy bears.

It’s about the love triggered by the idealized romanticism and by the characteristic daydreaming of the humanities students, ignited by the ignorance and amazement facing the big, dirty, sophisticated Bucharest, like an ugly magnet full of interesting things and the mystery of the shape taken by the emotional instability of a girl with a shady past. The story takes you through scenes as frustrating for the viewer as they are for the characters, because it’s over: the faculty hours, the library, the films, and the girls are off-screen, but you wish they stayed for longer. The film speaks cleanly about the first love when you only dream about the next moment; you don’t plan credits or babies. The feeling in itself. When it hits you, it hits you and when it’s gone, it’s gone. And when it hits you, it’s a simple natural phenomenon so the morality debate is useless in this case. So, the story may as well be about lesbians (the press conference discussions revolved, unfortunately, around this theme, although the word lesbians is here the single saddest label). In their unexpected story, the girls have that view of Romania, specific to the person blinded by love when facing reality and to whom history is not important: fire fighters, bar, the country discotheque, the head bandaged gypsies with their telephones stuck to the gypsum of their bandage, the cows and the donkeys are there just to make the girls laugh harder, and behind their eyes, the director’s eyes are too delicate and too emphatic to turn the film (or the love) into an essay. And first love does not turn our destinies upside down and it only represents a small experience in life’s economy – and, in this case, it represents the main story that shadows one that was only half told or perhaps just (mis)understood by the viewers.

Kiki (Maria Popistaşu), the second lead, but the more interesting one, the one which, if you didn’t know much about life, could’ve gotten to you just as much as she did to Alex in the film, has a brother. This brother is jealous of any of his sister’s moves, he makes scenes and lives his life, on which we receive very few details, between torture and triumph (in this film, it’s more torture, but we feel that in the past there might have been more triumph). Kiki is sophisticated; confused, emotionally unstable, vulnerable and affection-starved, and, in the actress’s half-there gestures, one can read a story of domination and addiction whose charm disappears once you start judging it. First love goes away, as I was saying, but behind it, before and after, stays the life long love, be it unnatural and problematic, still it’s love, of a character who, just like Alex, didn’t have a choice when they fell in love. Sandu (Tudor Chirilă) is a character made of spasms and breaks, so strong yet so unsolvable that you wonder, after the film ends, what became of him.

Fortunately, in this film, the characters don’t teach you anything, they don’t draw conclusions, and they don’t receive life lessons. Understandings are not the result of discussions even if the discussions exist, and even if they brush on, as Cecilia Ştefănescu said yesterday during the press conference, "the great themes" (love, perversity, incest?) Their conclusions are drawn and quickly forgotten, as when you’re in a love that hurts, that blows you away, literature has absolutely no relevance "in no system of thought", said Alex, Ioana Barbu’s character. Growing up happens when you least expect it and the fact that Tudor Giurgiu’s film has the power to show that so clearly and serenely is really a first in our cinematography. At the end, you feel so peaceful and you sigh satisfied because you know how it is.

The credits scroll down the screen, where Tudor Giurgiu dedicates the film to his grandmother Lila, who took him see the first film of his life, which happened to be The Guns of Navarone. His feature debut was a simple and clean one, for which he waited a long time, but the wait did not make him ruin it by trying to say it all. It’s just a not-too-big film, very beautiful and amazingly clear and personal. Grandmother Lila must have been special.

{ Romana Language Icon }


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