A hard-working Muslim girl in the Swedish sticks is made redundant in the well-meaning “Eat Sleep Die,” a handheld doodle from tyro helmer Gabriela Pichler. Though Montenegro-born newcomer Nermina Lukac is magnetic as the no-nonsense lead, Pichler, who also wrote and co-edited, struggles to forge an engaging narrative out of the sociorealist mini-tragedies that befall her ill-conceived characters, with the occasionally preachy tone and a contrived drama involving a driver’s license especially grating. Beyond the usual Scandi outlets, femme-centric and sociopolitical events might bite.The only identifiably Islamic element about the smoking, boozing, zaftig twentysomething and fluent Swedish-speaker Rasa Abdulahovic (Lukac), is her name. Though Pilcher’s protag initially comes across like a Trojan Horse-style re-education tool for xenophobic Swedish auds (she’s just like you, except, surprise, she’s a non-practicing Euro Muslim!), Lukac manages to turn Rasa into a vivacious, almost credible presence who offers some counterweight to the “Rosetta”-lite narrative that follows her meandering path to a new job and her credibly loving relationship with her ill father (Milan Dragisic). The pic’s single great scene shows Rasa nervously awaiting her official dismissal meeting at the factory. Assembly is appropriately gritty.
A Triart Films release of an Anagram presentation and production, in association with Film i Skane, SVT, Film i Vast, with the participation of Solid Entertainment, Piryafilm, Hinden. (International sales: The Yellow Affair, Stockholm.) Produced by China Ahlander. Co-producers, Ralf Ivarsson, Gunnar Carlsson, Jessica Ask. Directed, written by Gabriela Pichler.
Camera (color, HD), Johan Lundborg; editors, Pichler, Lundborg; music, Andreas Svensson, Jonas Isaksson; costume designer, Sandra Woltersdorf; sound (Dolby Digital), Martin Hennel. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Critics' Week), Sept. 2, 2012. (Also in Toronto Film Festival -- Discovery.) Running time: 107 MIN.
Nermina Lukac, Milan Dragisic, Jonathan Lampinen, Peter Falt, Ruzica Pichler. (Swedish, Montenegrin, Serbian dialogue)