Wednesday, November 20, 2013

EUFF 2013 Film Review - Love.Net

The online dating industry is a 2 billion dollar business. Many people have Internet access in the palm of their hand and with the prevalence of social networking dating on the net is the next logical step. There are sites for singles, specific ethnic groups and religions groups. Now even sites for married people that are openly looking to have affairs. Online dating has produced marriages, divorces, thefts, stalking, assaults and unfortunately deaths. looks at this world through a section of people in Bulgaria linked by family, friendship or encounters on the Net.

After a high-tech opening featuring many keyboards and individuals in cubicles we meet Emila (Koyna Ruseva) a real estate agent that is looking for fast brief encounters.  The catch phrase on her profile is insatiable, impatient and sexy signing off with next please. Here 14 year old daughter Devora (Lora Cheshmedjieva) is also online posting provocative pictures of herself attracting the attention of much older men that includes one with the screen name Easy Rider who very much wants to meet her. The main driving character of the film is Andrey Bogatev (Zachary Barharov) a reporter for DABND magazine that writing a story on the subject from where we get the title of the film. Andrey's brother Filip (Hristo Shopov) an emergency room doctor is also online having become so accustomed to his wife Mila (Lili Lazarova) that they no longer communicate. All characters are armed with Sony Vaio laptops as they check out their profiles and cruise though a plethora of potential partners.


Director Ilian Djevelekov's production does not comment one way or the other on this disposable method of dating. Writer Andrey does remark during his first encounter with Niki (Dilyana Popova) that it use to take half the night and a trip to a bar to pick up women. Now via a dating site it's done in 30 minutes and you're at her home. The weakness in the narrative is its egalitarian approach and cumbersome attempt to interconnect all of the characters.  There is some good material here and an attempt to focus on Andrey's article, his brother's failing Bogatev marriage and perhaps the story of Emilia and her daughter as a secondary tale would have worked better. However the need for Devora and Filip's son be schoolmates and friends all the way down to a computer hackers dad be a former patient of Filip's gives the impression of trying to hard. Less characters and better editing would also help to cut down the almost two hour runtime for the piece.

The account does lightly skim the topic of internet stalking exploring the relation ship between Dev and an older man touching on what could occur if you give out too much information online as a minor and agree to meet with an internet acquaintance.

The best performances in the film are from Hristo Shopov and Lili Lazarova as Dr. Filip and Mila Bogatev. They have some worthwhile scenes as they ignore each other in the same space then each's personality changes and evolves when the get online. Look for John Lawton former Uriah Heap front man in a supporting role as a 70's musician who's contacted by a young woman Joana (Diana Dobreva) Mila's best friend looking for one of his songs that her dad used to play for her when she was a child. is a mixed effort without any overly strong direction or message. It attempts to speak on a genre with an over abundance of possibilities and appears to have been stuck down by the size of the task. Not to mention the multiple sightings of Sony Vaio laptops. It is not a film that I can recommend.

** out of 4. | Ilian Djevelekov | Bulgaria | 2011| 109 minutes.

Tags: Internet Dating, Pop Culture, Stalking, Sex, Love, Loveless Marriage, Duality,Teenagers.

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