Love Building, Iulia Rugina, 2013
And because it’s Sunday and one of the last few days of summer, let us talk about a Sunday film. “Romanian films are not Sunday films” is a phrase that became pretty popular on this website, maybe we should turn it into a #hashtag, but even so, there are a few Sunday films and Love Building is one of them. After diving into the “underground” of the soul, we thought about lighting the atmosphere up a bit, especially for the romantics. An easy, summery, slightly commercial, but not till the end, film, with actors who freshly graduated from the acting school, Actoriedefilm.ro, like a final project, you may say. Being the debut in feature films of Iulia Rugina, Love Building could be “labelled” as a film of the firsts, first feature film of the director, first role for many of the actors. Not the greatest out there, but a nice project, which doesn’t try to be more than it is, and it comes with a website lovebulding.ro and a “love building” platform, which unfortunately ceased its existence. Plus, it’s a film that attracts the public or so it seemed from the Public Prize won at the International Film Festival B-EST, and that is an important aspect of a film’s life.
Who doesn’t like a love story? But 14 of them? Well if you’re a romantic looking for a laugh, Love Building might do the trick, and even if you’re not, and you’re just looking for a film to watch with some friends with popcorn and soft drinks, you might’ve just found your film.
Love Building is not a pretentious film, an intellectual one, but it is honest enough not to speak of love as it would be a fairytale, optimistic enough to leave the possibility of a second chance open, and real enough not to become cheesy, which is a mix that gets under your skin.
The diversity of couples and stories, the numerous characters make it almost impossible not to find at least a situation similar to something you have experienced, which makes the film relatable. The film brings together the couple with a newborn, struggling to adapt, the bored couple, that lost their passion somewhere on the road, the mother in law problems, the absent partner, the drinking problem, and spices things up with a married boyfriend, an adulterous couple, a porn actors couple and two lesbian couples, all set in the frame of a reality TV show, one of those that you always wonder if it’s scripted or not (not to shatter your dreams, but they all are). And this reality TV show frame is the key to the whole film, and it is probably what gives it a bit of depth, by confronting the notion of love with the one of profit. You can’t sell the image of unhappy couples, but you can buy their smiles, you can make them seem happy enough with a few cheap tricks. The tone is light, the dialogue is funny, and the film feels at some points to be a satire, not of love, don’t understand me wrong, but of the whole context that it’s integrated into, and how this love changes from a banality to a charade. And of course, there are the 3 “Doctor Love”-s (Alexandru Papadopol, Dorian Boguta, Dragos Bucur), who are just as, if not more “broken” than the couples coming to seek help. The psychotherapists who help everyone else but themselves, as it usually happens is yet another one of fate’s ironies.
The film seems to try to fit together a few too many pieces and stories in an hour and 25 minute, and it lets the viewer with the feeling that some plotlines weren’t developed enough, that some characters deserved more screen time (which isn’t only a feeling), and that the acting could have sometimes been improved, even though you can’t impute the central trio anything. But then, Silvia, is a sort of contemporary Cruela, who doesn’t have an honest bone in her body, so, oddly, Silvia Morosanu’s unconvincing acting fits the character this time, making it even more unlikable.
All in all, if you’re in search for a light film for a relaxing evening that will make you laugh and leave you in a good mood, regardless of your relationship status on Facebook, why not give Love Building a try?
Review by Maria Mantaluta