Consisting of six shorts strung together, portmanteau pic "Lost and Found" reps a solid team effort from up-and-coming Eastern European helmers, though inevitably some efforts shine more than others.
Consisting of six shorts strung together, portmanteau pic “Lost and Found” reps a solid team effort from up-and-coming Eastern European helmers, though inevitably some efforts — particularly ones by Magyar helmer Kornel Mundruczo and Serb Stefan Arsenijevic — shine more than others. Vaguely linked by “generations” theme, pic provides solid showcase for new talents from the region that will find favor mainly on the fest circuit, although individual films could stand alone as scheduler fillers on local webs.
Weakest of the six by some distance is baffling, if technically polished animation “Gene + Ratio,” by established Estonian toon helmer Mait Laas. Using both drawn, 3-D and other techniques to tell of an architect on a fantastic journey, short suffers from being cut up and interleaved between the other five films in the package.
Bulgarian helmer Nadejda Koseva’s affecting wedding-day drama “The Ritual” holds together better, in which a family prepares a nuptial feast while the bride and groom make their way to the ceremony. Cute, but not excessively clever twist ending hits just-so final note, as does the pleasingly oblique conclusion of Romanian pic “Turkey Girl” from helmer Cristian Mungiu (“Occident”), in which a peasant teenager (Ana Ularu) reluctantly takes her beloved turkey to town to bribe a doctor for her sick mama.
Marking a departure from classical narrative structure, Bosnian-Herzegovinian Jasmila Zbanic’s docu “Birthday” offers a look at different lives led by two young girls — one Serb, one Bosnian — born the day the bridge at Mostar was destroyed in 1993. Worthy but slightly contrived, docu explores the still-echoing legacy of the war as the girls lead entirely separate lives, just miles apart from one another.
There’s more dramatic heft to Mundruczo’s “Shortlasting Silence,” a compact tale about a suicide counselor (Zsolt Trill) who journeys back to his rural farmstead to visit his dying mother and the sister (Orsolya Toth) with whom he once shared a semi-incestuous relationship. Although dialogue is a bit too enigmatic, kudos are due Mundruczo (who made promising feature “Pleasant Days”) for his precise rendering of atmosphere, richly enhanced by lenser Andras Nagy’s umbral, gliding candlelit camerawork.
Pic ends on a humorous high note with “Fabulous Vera,” by Stefan Arsenijevic (maker of Oscar nominated-short “(A)torsion”), about a Belgrade lady tram conductor (Milena Dravic) having a meltdown at work when her daughter announces she’s leaving the country. Somewhat reminiscent of Pedro Almodovar in his farcical “Woman on the Verge” period, mini-pic builds up a frothy head of comic steam by the end with a runaway tram. Strong ensemble perfs are led by veteran Serb thesp Dravic.