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In order to regain custody of her daughter, whom she left in the care of her fortune-telling aunt, Mona must tell a social worker her story. The tale she spins---and the movie we watch---is a wild, surreal adventure in which people are able to project and enter each other's dreams, and our heroine is sold into slavery and lands in a swank, debauched Liverpool brothel where the patrons enact their literary/sexual fantasies with Lolita, St. Joan, and Desdemona. Rendered with dazzling tracking shots, striking CGI effects and a pulsing soundtrack, Hungarian director Szabolcs Hajdu's risk-taking fantasia has style to spare. But under the seductive surface lurks the very human story of a woman who uses fantasy to cushion the pain of life. Written by
Los Angeles Film Festival
If you think this is going to be one of those sprightly bright Balkan ethnic panoramas in the superficially entertaining Kusturica mold, you're in for a surprise: Beneath all the visual pizazz and eccentric characterizations lies a deeply disturbing portrait of a society marked by physical and mental exploitation as well as moments of human kindness.
Director Hajdu spins an intriguing web of shifting and merging narrative levels of reality versus imagination, both grim and light. By doing so, he gets a better grip on the imponderability of life than most "real" social dramas put together.
Some may find the way he's handling the brothel scenes way too florid, but bear in mind the narrative's fantastic underpinnings and all fits into place.
8 out of 10 literate pimps
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