Though it doesn’t leave many traces, “Lipstick” is a pleasant enough gloss on the socially fluid situation in present-day Central Europe, centering on the story of a young Yugoslav woman stranded in Hungary over New Year’s Eve. Pic is well suited for specialized airings.
Story opens Jan. 1, 1993, in a Budapest apartment where Vesna (Sinolicka Trpkova) has spent the night with Arpad (Peter Andorai). Returning by train to Vienna, she’s arrested at the Austrian border for having a now-invalid Yugoslav passport. Pic then flashes back to the previous day: her arrival in Budapest, meeting with a boisterous Russian (Janos Ban) and eventual one-night stand with boozy bar pianist Arpad.
Essentially a light relationship movie given a contempo edge by its underpinnings of Balkan rootlessness, pic never gets under the skin of its main character, despite misty flashbacks to the young woman’s youth.
In the lead role, Trpkova is photogenic but blank, outclassed inthe personality stakes by Magyarthesps Andorai, as the hangdog musician, and Ban, as the likably boyish Russian. Tech credits are OK, the blowup from 16mm obvious but acceptable.