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Loving Glances
2005 - NR - 97 Mins.
Director: Srdjan Karanovic
Producer: Sam Taylor
Written By: Srdjan Karanovic
Starring: Senad Alihodzic, Ivana Bolanca, Jelena Djokic
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site: www.lovingglances.com/
   

In bed with her memories.
A surprising and touching romance, ‘Loving Glances’ is a warm and poignant oddball film that feels like a throwback to something like ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ with its innovative and surreal portrayal of disjointed time. Nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, ‘Loving Glances’ is a welcome rarity – a blissful movie about contemporary Serbia. Set in the present day, ‘Loving Glances’ is about finding love in strange places and learning to deal with the burden of memories. After the Balkan war, the citizens of former Yugoslavia are trying to put their lives back together. A young man, Labud, arrives in the city of Belgrade, looking for his fiancée, Vida, who had immigrated to Chicago. While he waits for a visa to the U.S., he decides to try computer-dating for some companionship.

Writer/director, Srdjan Karanovic, depicts the ghosts of Serbia’s wartime past by having Labud’s lost or dead friends and relatives show up in the middle of nowhere, offering him their advice. So, his memories of Vida pop up so that she can diss his current dating choices. His long dead mother offers a quip or three about his clothes or his poor eating habits. Professors? Neighbors? All his loved ones have something to say, following him around like a comic Greek chorus. It’s an effective way to remind the audience that Labud lost many people during the war but that his memories of them keep him company. And sometimes, it can get pretty crowded as Labud reminisces!

Karanovic portrays Belgrade as vibrant and colorful even as its people dig out in the aftermath of war with shortages of everything. ‘Loving Glances’ star, Senad Alihodzic, is very funny and charismatic – he’s like an impishly toned down version of Roberto Bengini in the similarly themed ‘Life is Beautiful.’ With all of his belongings in a plastic shopping bag, Labud is like a modern day version of Charlie Chaplin’s little tramp. At one point, when Labud finds that a potential blind date likes dogs, Labud looks for a stray dog and lassos it with his belt.

While on his computer dates, Labud meets Romana (Ivana Bolanca), a beautiful woman with ghosts of her own. She misses her old boyfriend and has her own collection of “ghosts” accompanying her. And like all the wandering refugees in the city, she too clutches a plastic bag containing all her worldly goods.

As Labud and Romana explore their relationship, his old fiancée, Vida, shows up in Belgrade, looking for him. The result? ‘Loving Glances’ wistfully avoids romantic clichés but neither is it particularly somber. It’s a colorful slice of life and love about a part of the world that’s only been shown in wartime gray.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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