Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Love & Engineering

FI/DE/BG 2014. PC: Making Movies Oy (Kaarle Aho), Filmtank (Thomas Tielsch), Agitprop (Martichka Bozhilova). D+SC: Tonislav Hristov. DP: Peter Flinckenberg. M: Petar Dundakov. S: Nani Schumann. ED: Nikolai Hartmann. Featuring: Mikael Saarinen, among others. Loc: Finland. In English, with Finnish subtitles. 2K DCP. 81 min. DocPoint Opening Gala at Bio Rex, Helsinki, 28 Jan 2014

Presented by Ulla Simonen, Ulla Bergström, Tonislav Hristov, Kaarle Aho, in the presence of the production team.

Rosa-Maria Sedita in the DocPoint Catalogue: "Love & Engineering, Tonislav Hristov's crossmedia production, continues with similar themes as his Sinkkuelämän säännöt / [The Rules of Single Life] seen two years ago at DocPoint. The film befits everyone who has ever been insecure, wanted to change something in his life, had a crush or been on a date."

"The documentary asks what feelings are. Every one of us has his own way to explain our feelings. Besides, we have a scientific explanation to how emotions emerge in our bodies. But what happens in the practice? What causes emotional turbulences, and can emotions be controlled? At least human brains can be hacked."

"The challenges of the dating world are approached from the viewpoint of male engineers. Social media activity does not seem to help in real life encounters. In two years some actual development can take place, and optimism is one of the strong themes of the documentary."

"Love & Engineering provides daters with self-confidence. It is the little things that count. The documentary reveals that falling in love is a process in three phases, and charming the dating companion can be a matter of good hacking skills in the first place!" (Rosa-Maria Sedita, my translation).

The film is based on a classic concept of comedy: bringing a mechanical element in matters of love.

Most of the film charts technical and scientific methods to find Finnish dates for Bulgarian engineers.

The results are awkward, but everybody is having fun all the same. The approach is human, and there is no "adult material".

Such a film-making project might be a good way of dating, in itself. Perhaps it was?

Mostly I was thinking about the new relationship to reality in contemporary documentaries. I have a hard time believing that people can be themselves in the presence of a camera in situations like this. I suspect it is a matter of semi-documentary. The people are real, the issues are real, and the locations are real, but in front of the camera they act a parallel version of their reality. They are performers in a special way.

An element of artifice is also the fact that nobody speaks in their native language. Both Finns and Bulgarians speak bad English. The tutor even stutters. Maybe the message is that despite even such massive language barriers love will find a way.

The visual quality is functional to the story, and can be appreciated on a small screen. The visual objective is basically to record the people featuring in the story and their expressions. Yet there are some expressive landscape shots, too.

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