Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Love You

Volim te; Drama/ Grotesque, Croatia, 2005; D: Dalibor Matanić, S: Krešimir Mikić, Ivana Roščić, Ivana Krizmanić, Leon Lučev, Nataša Janjić, Zrinka Cvitešić

Krešo is in his 20s and feels as if his life is empty. He has a job and a girlfriend, Ana, but sees no meaning in it. While he was drunk, he crashed with his car into a girl, killing her. Later, the doctor informs him that he was infected with HIV due to blood transfusion. As the news spreads, his boss fires him while his friends don't want to hang out with him anymore. Angry that everyone is rejecting him, he decides to take revenge on society by sleeping with women without a condom. As he was about to do the same with a prostitute, he stops when he realizes she is a single mother. He feels empathy towards her. Finally, he dies in a car accident.

The title is deceiving - as sweet as it sounds, Dalibor Matanic's AIDS drama "I Love You" is actually quite the opposite, a dark-grey film where almost every sequence contains something shocking, depressing or repulsing. Matanic already established his bleak style in very good "Fine Dead Girls", but here it either doesn't hold well or it depleted its capacity already in the above mentioned film. "I Love You" works the best in the first third, especially in the brilliantly sharp opening sequence where the anti-hero Krešo is narrating his disappointment with his life as a grown up, where he now has to work until the rest of his life ("We consumed pounds of drugs, hoping we would wake up as youngsters again, stirred up from this grown up dream"), yet the AIDS tangle starts dragging it into (excessive) blackness. At first, the infected Krešo feels indifferent towards everything - in one funny scene, some wacky conductor twins write him a ticket for driving a streetcar without paying, and continue babbling ("I'm sorry, sir. What can we do? He doesn't want to talk to us...") while Krešo doesn't say anything, just walks away and then throws the piece of paper on the street - and with time the indifference contaminated the whole film. The ending is slightly redeeming, but not to such an extent to forgive numerous plot devices (for instance, can you imagine that an attractive woman, like Zrinka Cvitesic, would drag a drunk, unconscious (!) stranger, a slob like Krešo, to an apartment, to sleep with him without a condom?).


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