Love and Other Crimes




PARIS -- A day in the life of a few lost souls in Belgrade, "Love and Other Crimes" follows Milutin (Fedja Kostic), a declining mobster; his right hand, Stanislav (Vuk Kostic); his mistress, Anica (Anica Dobra); and his autistic daughter, Ivana (Hanna Schwambom). This melancholic German-Serbian-Austrian-Slovenian co-production will be a tough sell theatrically but could play numerous festivals specialized in Eastern European cinema.

Spanning from morning to evening (the last evening Anica is planning to spend in her city), the action soon focuses on Stanislav's feelings for Anica. A rather impossible love story begins. Its outcome is predictable, but director Stefan Arsenijevic, in his first feature, gives the drama a bitter, melancholic touch.

Although some sequences have impact, such as the twin rooftop scenes showing the teenage Ivana having suicidal drives or the oddly funny revenge Anica takes on her former boyfriend, the nearly two-hour film seems to last for ages.

The film won't be of much use to the Serbian tourism office as Arsenijevic clearly loathes Belgrade, which he depicts in ruins, full of concrete project houses, and whose inhabitants all seem to long to escape to another country or to contribute to the city's high crime rate.