EUFF 2016: A Slovenian gal falls for a Danish girl in the meandering Dual
In English, Slovenian, and Danish with English subtitles.
The promise that Slovenian filmmaker Nejc Gavoda showed with his debut feature A Trip (Izlet) takes a long time to resurface in his sophomore film, Dual (Dvojina).
When a connecting flight from Denmark to Greece is cancelled, Danish passenger Iben (Mia Jexen) finds herself stuck overnight in Slovenia's capital Ljubljana. There, she befriends shuttle driver Tina (Nina Rakovec, who starred in A Trip). The two spend the night exploring the town together, from chatting over coffee to hanging out with kittens in stationary boxcars.
While Tina's attraction to Iben becomes apparent, Iben has a tragic secret that she withholds from Tina.
What follows is an extended series of intentionally and unintentionally awkward interactions, uninteresting dialogue, and immature antics. Similarly, a job interview that Tina goes to features unexpected conflict that doesn't quite work.
Although most of the performances are strong, some remain a little uneven at times. For instance, Jexen is more natural in quiet, intimate moments than when portraying the forced quirkiness of Iben's outbursts.
Things finally coalesce towards the end of the film when Tina goes home to her parents. The tensions between her and her parents provide the emotional friction much of the film lacks. Her parents' revelations of their regrets compensates for what goes unsaid between Tina and Iben.
Tina's friend and coworker Matic (Jure Henigman) also adds some unexpected, last-minute dramatic gravity when Tina finds him upset over a breakup with his girlfriend.
Despite the contrived elements of the first half of the film, the latter half does provide some compelling material and emotional engagement. Like the main characters themselves, this film falters when it doesn't seem to know where it's going but becomes more focused and interesting once it's able to admit where it was headed all along.