NZFF/ Love Story
Florian Habicht’s latest effort opened the International Film Festival with a concept that could easily have fallen flat in the hands of another director. Blending narrative with vox pops, Love Story sees its filmmaker jump in front of the camera to star alongside Masha Yakovenko in a romantic tale driven by the suggestions of people he bails up in the street as well as his regularly Skyping dad. As we’ve seen with Kaikohe Demolition and Land Of The Long White Cloud Habicht is brilliant at picking his subjects and making them feel comfortable with the camera’s presence, often spurring them to share personal histories and philosophies that resonate long after the film’s end.
While his primary objective in interacting with New Yorkers may be to establish exactly what happens next in the film’s off-kilter romance, by taking part in Habicht’s filmic choose-your-own adventure they reveal plenty about themselves in the process, long before some of the brilliant conversational tangents that inevitably ensue. It’s tempting to untangle fact from fiction throughout the film, but far more satisfying to be swept away by Love Story’s conceit, one that’s anchored by its lead performances and greatly enriched by its setting and cast of supporting characters.