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Lana's Rain
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Reviews & Ratings for
Lana's Rain More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great Independent Film Making

9/10
Author: pooletom from L.A.
19 April 2004

So much was said without using words.I saw this film with my girlfriend and sister and we all loved it.The lead actress and actor were superb. The editing was outstanding.I didn't mind the subtitles at all. There were a couple of things I didn't understand.The story was heartwarming and heartbreaking.Yes, the American Dream as seen from the other side. I thought the film was about to end twice and it kept on going only to get better.Some blood and guts,but not too much.It was tastefully done. It is a dark movie with a wonderful ending where she...oops!Well I highly recommend it especially if you want to see something different. And it really was shot in Chicago,not Toronto.Thanks for making a wonderful American film in America.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

a touching, powerful film with stellar acting

Author: Ava (purplemoviefreak) from chicago
28 February 2004

This is a film about a brother and sister who escape war-inflicted bosnia to arrive in chicago. soon their enthusiasm evaporates however, when their money is stolen. this is a beautifully directed film, and i was lucky to attend the premier in chicago and speak with the actor who plays darko. i think both leads are fine actors, and the film works very well. its very realistic, very gritty, and very intense. I think about half of the dialogue is spoken in croatian, and that adds to the realism of the film. many moments are very heartbreaking, like when lana tries to learn english by reading a dr. seuss book. I also loved the way the director portrayed chicago. he is obviously very familiar with the city and it shows. overall, i highly recommend it.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Independent cinema at its best!

Author: henryjulius from Chicago, IL
4 January 2004

Lana's Rain is a really great example of what's right in today's independent cinema. This is an original film that examines the political strife in post-Cold War Eastern Europe the difficulties faced by immigrants in modern America. But it doesn't stop there: Lana's Rain also looks at the Eastern European criminal underworld, and its affects on refugees in America. It also takes an unflinching look at the horrors of prostitution, through the eyes of original characters in this fascinating genre piece.

The story is told through a familiar genre: the action/crime picture, but this isn't some Tarantino knock-off or film noir wannabe. Michael Ojeda's debut takes a real daring step by having Eastern European actors speaking in Croatian for much of the film! In an age where too much dialog is dumbed-down by Hollywood and when foreign films are poorly dubbed by producers, it's refreshing to see an American director using language the way it was meant to be. Ojeda keeps the action flowing neatly, while getting us into the lives of these characters. We end up caring a lot about these people.

As for the cast of unknowns: they are uniformly excellent. I heard that `Lana' Oksana Orlenko, won the best actress award at the Milan Film Festival. No surprises there! She's immensely talented, radiating pathos and a raw sensuality from the screen. When more people see this film, I'll bet movie goers will fall absolutely in love with her!

Bottom line: don't le me describe this film for you.SEE IT!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Small budget, great results.

9/10
Author: xavrush89 from Illinois, U.S.A.
22 January 2005

This film is better and grittier than many dramas with ten times the budget, and there are plenty of suspenseful moments to keep even the most indie-phobic skeptic intrigued. Oksana Orlenko (who won an award in Milan for her performance) and Nickolai Stoilov are seamless as the charismatic leads, while Michael S. Ojeda's direction makes the best use of their talents and the skills of his cinematographer (Gennadi Balitski), as well as his own script.

I disagree with the one reviewer (out of ten so far) who didn't like the "execution" of this film. I think it is a perfect mix of action scenes that grab you, and intense character-driven dramatic moments that allow for time to take in all that has happened. Ojeda really captures the sense of peril one feels without a dime and no place to go. That gash in Lana's forehead on the film's poster gives an idea of how deep the film is, and the roller-coaster ride awaiting anyone who watches it. I wish I had seen it in the theater. Grade: A

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A great testament to independent filmmaking.

8/10
Author: visionpix-1 from Chicago, IL
1 March 2004

This is what independent film is all about. Goodman has created intriguing characters and a compelling story that show a mix of cultures that are alien to most Americans.

Lana's Rain emphasizes the gritty side of life that you don't get to see in Hollywood movies. Lana and her brother Darko move to America looking for a better life, quickly realizing the hardships of a strange land with no money, no friends, and only each other to count on. Not even knowing the language, Lana is forced to sell her body to survive while Darko looks for work.

Through a series of unexpected twists we learn that all is not as it seems, and Lana must take matters into her own hands to stay alive. Incredible performances by both Oxana Orlenko (Lana) and Nickolai Stoilov (Darko) keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

Movies like this prove the kind of heart that a filmmaker can put in to a story, especially outside of the Hollywood system. And though it lacks any big stars, it didn't need them. The gritty feel and superb performances definitely give Lana's Rain commercial appeal. Highly recommended.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A dark film that not even light can escape it.

8/10
Author: Jeff Hoffman (buttonpictures@earthlink.net) from LA, CA
17 April 2004

This film has everything you could ask for in an indie and more! Although this picture is bookended by a commercialized style, in no way does it undermine the heart of the story. The character of Lana, portrayed by newcomer Oksana Orlenko, goes through an amazing arc of ordeals. Her brother, portrayed by Nickolai Stoilov, does not have as wide an arc, but does provide the emotional conflicts and resistance with our female protagonist. The production value is high for the low cost. I heard that the film was made for under $300,000 which proves that producer Joel Goodman and director Michael Ojeda makes every shot for dollar count. I look forward in seeing the stars rise to a brighter spotlight soon. The film is dark and puts the beautiful locales of Chicago in a new light. Or, in this case, a new shadow.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie - great soundtrack

Author: itpphoto from just outside Chicago
7 October 2003

This was an intriguing suspenseful movie with a great soundtrack. Excellent photography. One of my favorite shots is just after the main characters have traveled to America in a ramshackle shipping container and open the doors to.... well I won't spoil it for you. Some words that might be used to describe this film might me; gritty, shocking, captivating, metamorphic, gripping, and resilient. It combines elements from many film categories like, action, suspenseful and historical dramas, a real thriller with a dark transformation plot.

This is the tragic story of Lana who was betrayed by her own brother. But just when things seem bleakest for Lana, her hope for a new life.... well I won't spoil it for you.

Take the time to find it and see it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Unique Film, Great Story Line, Well put together

8/10
Author: admin-288 from Chicago
1 March 2004

Lana's Rain is a great film. There are many plots running through the film. However, they are all kept in check by a wonderfully written script. The ending twist that the character Lana plays on Darko and the other characters is written beautifully.

Credit should be given to Joel Goodman and Michael Ojeda for bringing this to Chicago to be filmed. It is the perfect backdrop for this movie.

Nickolai Stoilov (Darko) and OKSANA ORLENKO (Lana) are going to be big stars.

What can you say bad about a film that received 3 stars from Roger Ebert??

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Another View of the Immigrant Problem

7/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
23 August 2005

America has long been the land of dreams, of freedom for the oppressed, and for the promise of a better life for immigrants. Recent events including the rise and effects of terrorism and the inundation of illegal immigrants from south of the borders have alerted this country to perceived dangers in the 'open arms' posture America has maintained since its beginning. LANA'S RAIN is a stunning film that shifts the focus of immigration to the viewpoint of those immigrating and the result is a story that is at once terrifying and heartrending. Writer/director Michael S. Ojeda asks us to look at the plight of those seeking American asylum, and though the result is a film that is a bit heavy handed, there is an important message here.

The story begins in 1995 in Bosnia during the Balkan wars and we are introduced to the main character Lana (Oxana Orlenko) struggling to survive in the war-torn streets. She seeks and finds her long lost brother Darco (Nickolai Stoilov) who happily receives her and promises to take her to America using some 'recently acquired money'. After stowing away on a cargo ship they arrive in Chicago and are immediately smitten with the beauty of their new land. While Lana dreams in a city park with their luggage containing the money and all their possessions, Darco seeks a place to live. While Lana is sleeping and dreaming of her new life, the luggage 'disappears' and when Darco returns they must now seek shelter and food as beggars. Darco talks Lana into an act of prostitution out of desperation: Lana consents only to fall into the hands of a sadistic client.

Gradually the two find a room, Darco is promised a job in a fish market, but the job is not available for a month. Once again Darco asks Lana to be a prostitute, this time under his 'supervision and protection' as Lana speaks no English at all. Lana woefully consents out of her love for her brother and the two make enough money for room and food. But when Darco begins spending money beyond their means and his past life of crime in Bosnia surfaces in various ways, Lana feels demoralized and defeated and finds her only consolation in a fragile friendship with a Chinese sculptor Julian (Luoyong Wang), despite the language barrier. Ultimately Darco's past life and evil spirit take the forefront and Lana feels compelled to assist those Bosnian forces in Chicago who seek Darco for past crimes in his homeland. How Lana survives this life and finds her own life forms the end of the story.

Though the film is unrelentingly grim in color, story, excessive bloody faces, and undercurrents, director Ojeda does make his point that all too often immigrants are driven into a life of crime out of desperation to stay alive in the land of plenty. The actors are convincing in their roles and while Lana's plight grows a bit repetitive and tiresome at times, Orlenko keeps us caring about her Lana. Likewise Nickolai Stoilov creates a two-sided character so successfully that we can believe Lana's love then hate for him. This is a dark film but one with an important message. Just be prepared for a violent movie. Grady Harp

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Well-paced, modern, situated friendly film with good techniques.

Author: (the2000jon@yahoo.com) from Chicago, Illinois
21 March 2004

This movie was not bad .. It fulfilled the requirements for a film marking a foreign lady - main charachter (Lana) incompetent in her efforts to change in America at first. Her sustained psychological traumas and tribulations are just the icing on the cake before she passes the test to mark the grade of survival to the fittest in America - Chicago, Illinois to be specific.. Good Feature. I'd give this a 7.5 on a scale. Video rental is reccomended, and dont rush out unless you're a chicago native and want to glance at interstates , congestions and license plates unique to modern Chicago

Jonathan

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