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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.18.10] movie review drama romance

Year: 2010
Director: Ingrid Veninger
Writers: Ingrid Veninger
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7 out of 10

The mission to make a teen romance that offers something fresh and new to the well worn genre continues and one of this year’s attempts to breathe some new life into the genre is Ingrid Veninger’s Modra. What sets Verninger’s film apart is its use of location, choosing to take a couple of teens and dropping them in Slovakia but the conventions of the troubled teenage romance remain the same, even the if the settings are much prettier than we’re usually accustomed to.

Modra opens with Lina having just broken up with her boyfriend. She’s at home feeling sorry for herself, when she gets a call from Leco, a classmate looking for a date (she’s his third choice). She explains that she can’t go out because she’s going on a trip the following day and needs to get up early to get to the airport and somewhere between hello and I can’t, typical of teenage interactions where one thing leads to another, Lina and Leco end up as travel buddies heading to Slovakia for a week.

It’s upon their arrival at the train station outside Modra, the small town where Lina’s family lives, that Modra changes gears from mediocre fare to something of interest. Though it happens in the first 15 minutes of the film, it’s an instant change of pace from the tired, teen romance tales we’re accustomed to seeing and the introduction of Lina’s cousin is an immediate flag that we’re in for a treat. From here, we go on to meet much of Lina’s family, an unnaturally happy bunch who are determined to make the young woman and her companion feel welcome and at home.

Veninger throws constraints out the window and builds a beautiful, quiet tale of two confused teens falling in and out of love (or what a teenager perceives as love) in a small town. Removed from their friends and the comforts of home, the two find friendship in each other and the new people around them but they’re confused about their relationship, seeming to expect that romance is something that they should want from each other though it’s pretty clear from the get go that neither is ready for a relationship with the other. That doesn’t stop their emotions from flaring, and the two swing from liking each other to hate and then back to amicable friendship, with the occasional over emotional flair out.

It certainly helps that the leads, Hallie Switzer as Lina and Alexander Gammal as Leco, are likeable and have a sweet chemistry but what makes Modra memorable is the setting, the beautiful white walled, red tiled roofs and the gorgeous hills and countryside that surround the town. Veninger offers a slice of European small town living which is hard to come by and its authenticity and quaintness are truly memorable, adding a nice sliver of reality to the story and yet, Veninger provides this slice of town living off handedly, not stopping to make a point of it but incorporating it beautifully into Leco and Lina’s adventures through town.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Modra unfold but the most interesting part of the story wasn’t the “it’s on” or “it’s off” relationship status of the leads, but rather the places and people that fill the sidelines of this story; Lina’s family and the beautiful people who welcomed her with open arms, even if they’re unable to communicate with her beyond a smile and hug. Modra may not be the best new spin on the teen romance or a great story of self discovery but it’s still an enjoyable and very entertaining film.

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al cook (11 years ago) Reply

After reading Hallie and Kaylas so called poetry about a friends relationship gone bad. I can see that they beleived in there friends lies. You see the facts came out and the facts were that your friend lied and the person that she lied about was found innocent and got his life back. All the better now that they are no longer part of his life. Scum like your friend should be prosecuted for purgery..... not the guy who was simply trying to help and do the right thing. This movie lacks imagination and played like a waldorf coffee house performance. WORST MOVIE EVER. Get some acting lessons Hallie and some new friends wouldn't hurt either.

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