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Love Me is a character-drive narrative that follows desperate men on their quest for love through the modern 'mail-order bride' industry in Ukraine. The film highlights the complete process... See full summary »
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1995's "Before Sunrise" sorta gets transposed to Ukraine (with a Turkish twist)
"Love Me" (2013 co-production from Ukraine and Turkey; 90 min.) brings the story of Sasha and Cemal. As the movie opens, we see Cemal participating in a family celebration ceremony in Istanbul, and along the way we learn that he is engaged to be married. But Cemal's uncle convinces him to come along for a "lost weekend" in Kiev. Meanwhile, we get to know Sasha, a beautiful woman who is stuck in a deeply unhappy relationship with a married man. To vent her frustration, Sasha one night heads out to a local night club, where by coincidence she spots a rich-looking foreigner, Cemal. At this point we are about 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, even thought this is a Ukraine-Turkish co-production (and co-written/co-directed by a Turk and a Ukranian), 90% of the movie plays out in Kiev (or Kyiv, as the movie's subtitles insist). The movie is set in the dead of winter, and as such, Kiev becomes a third leading character in the movie. There are numerous gorgeous shots of the barren winter cityscapes, shrouded in early morning fog/frost/snow. Second, the relationship/interaction between Sasha and Cemal is very interesting. Two complete strangers meet and start what could be "the beginning of a very meaningful relationship" (sorry, couldn't help the Seinfeld punt). In that sense I was reminded of Richard Linklater's 1995 movie "Before Sunrise" (like that movie, the first half of "Love Me" plays out over the very first evening/night that Sasha and Cemal meet). But to complicate matters even further, neither speaks the other's language, and their broken English is limited at best. Third, a striking feature of living in Ukraine, at least if you are a woman, is that the most important feature in looking for a mate is that he's got money, and lots of it. When Sasha's money gets wind of the budding friendship between Sasha and Cemal, she snorts with barely contained contempt "Is he at least rich? You're so selfish if he's not!", wow. Last but not least, the movie makes some pointed observations on the challenges for the many Turks living in Kiev, and it ain't always a pretty picture. All that aside, "Love Me" kept my interest from start to finish and the movie simply flew by in no time.
This movie was the January, 2015 release in Film Movement's "DVD of the Month" club of foreign and indie movies. As is always the case, the DVD comes with a bonus shortie, and this month we get "The Queen" (original title: La Reina; 2013 release from Argentina; 19 min.), an interesting documentary regarding a young girl's struggle with competing in beauty pageantries while wanting to live a 'normal' live. Definitely worth checking out. Meanwhile, "Love Me" is a worthy addition to the ever-growing Film Movement's library of foreign and indie movies. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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