Friday 28 September 2012

'LOVELESS ZORITSA' (Crna Zorica) - Raindance Film Festival 2012

LOVELESS ZORITSA (Original Title: Crna Zorica) is a unique, engaging and at times, hilarious film directed by Christina Hadjicharalambous and Radoslav Pavkovic, who were both at the Apollo Cinema in Picadilly Circus tonight for the international premiere of the film.

A Serbian film, co-produced with Poland, Cyprus and Greece (with much of the post-production being done in these countries), 'Loveless Zoritsa' is one of the more bizarre and unusual films you're likely to see this year.

Many men fall in love with the beautiful Zoritsa. The only problem is -- she's cursed. Any man who loves her-- at worst, dies instantly and at best, is severely paralysed. Why does all this happen? Because when Zoritsa was born, she was the first female in her family to be born without a moustache. And to be female and born into this family without a moustache, is a bad omen. 

Sound crazy? It is, yet somehow, it works. The film is shot beautifully --- and you can't help but be swept away into the bizarre Balkan world of crazy locals and inept policemen. It's a world that could so easily have been too far fetched and unbelievable, yet luckily it keeps you compelled.

My only gripe was that the ending crossed my mind much earlier in the film, leaving things a little anti-climatic for me. Hopefully that won't be true for most viewers, but then, even if it is, there is much to enjoy about the film.

The film runs at a comfortable 80 minutes, which is just about right for a film that isn't to be taken too seriously. A light and enjoyable insight into a side of Serbian culture most of us know nothing about (a few Serbian audience members understood the movie a little better than British viewers, not that it detracted from our enjoyment), it's definitely worth seeing for its uniqueness. There's also a strong and intriguing performance from Ljuma Penov, along with a whole host of memorable faces and performances from actors who, we were told, are very famous in Serbia. But it's definitely Penov who stands out the most in a role that is far more crazy, exciting and mysterious than what Hollywood actresses usually get to play. 

'Loveless Zoritsa' is still searching for international distribution. Judging by the audience reaction at tonight's sold out premiere, it should have no problem finding an audience.

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