Corrections were made to this review on Feb. 9, 2004.
Old Europe gets a new rhythm in “Mix,” in which an aspiring L.A. club deejay connects with his roots and himself in contempo Budapest. Though enthusiastic and tangi-bly sincere, ambitious pic is too often driven by disruptive coincidence and emphasizes an unharmonious porn/bondage plot strand that shouldn’t shock Euro auds but reps an obstacle to mainstream play Stateside. Still, autobiographical dimension of story will garner some fest invites: Pic garnered Best First Film and Best Editor awards at Hungarian Film Week. Bouncy pace, plethora of techno tracks and skin should attract cable and homevid buyers.
Seventeen-year-old deejay Mitch (Alex Weed) would much rather spin his “scratch tables” and pleasure himself to Internet porn than practice classical piano for the impending Julliard audition his Hungarian immigrant father Peter (Janos Kulka) has been working toward the boy’s whole life.
Only days before Mitch’s test, Peter receives word that his estranged father has died in Budapest. Peter and Mitch fly to the old country, where Mitch immediately bonds with elderly yet elegant grandmother Klara (Olga Koos), even as Peter storms out over the same unspecified conflict that drove him away decades before.
With only one night out in the Hungarian capital before flying back to America, Mitch promptly loses his money to rap-loving cabby Lou (Jeffrey Schecter), a New Jersey native who initially poses as a local. Later Mitch is tossed out of a brothel after glimpsing Bea (Dorka Gryllus), the online bondage model he’d first noticed while Web surfing at home.
He reconnects with Lou, misses his flight, and has only days to scrape together the coin for a return ticket to make his audition. To get the money, Lou throws a massive rave in a conveniently empty theater, even as he’s working through his feelings for Bea, confronting her junkie photog b.f. Csaba (Krisztian Kolovratnik) and outsmarting Internet porn ring boss Zoltan (Peter Rudolf).
Leavening its blunt crudity with a can-do spirit, pic is billed as “a Lovy brothers film” and draws inspiration from the family history of helmer-scripter Steven Lovy (1990 cult romp “Circuitry Man”) and production-art director Robert Lovy, both of whom currently call Budapest home.
Disparate perf styles mix well, with Koos’ emotional monologue and denouement pic’s emotionally satisfying core. Some tightening of the rough stuff would streamline Mitch’s odyssey while broadening general appeal.
Tech credits are competent, with muscular sound mix socking across techno tunes. Brief Southern California sequences were actually shot in Budapest, and bursts of Hungarian dialogue add veracity without impeding storyline. Pic preems domestically Feb. 19, with other Eastern Euro releases already skedded.