Dance In The Rain

Dance In The Rain


Reviewed by: David Stanners

Dance In The Rain is generally regarded as Slovenia's best film. Shot in 1961 by writer/director Bostjan Hladnik, who worked under Claude Chabrol in the late Fifties, the stylistic links to the French New Wave are evident.

Peter (Miha Baloh) is the dark brooding type. Leading a vacuous, shapeless life, he longs for the ideal woman, while at the same time, half-heartedly continuing with his habitual girlfriend, Marusa (Dusa Pockaj), who is considerably older, a fact that Peter is quick to point out. As an ageing actress, struggling for parts in her local theatre, she oozes insecurity and breathes uncertainty. Together, they spend their time in the local restaurant, smoking, drinking and trading verbal blows. "I bet you'll just end up a drunk," she tells Peter each time. Peter just grins and tells her how old she looks. Compounded by a thankless director who soon shows her the door, Marusa finds her identity being squeezed harder and harder against the wall.

Copy picture

To escape, Peter and Marusa dream. Wistfully yearning for better things, they never really discover true hope. Peter finds short-term comfort with other women, as well as with Marusa, when he's bored. She takes comfort in the young prompter (Ali Raner) at the theatre, who is madly in love with her and in whose eyes she can do no wrong. But against her better judgment, it is Peter's elusive affection and acceptance from the world at large that she tragically craves.

Soul searching and personal identities are the two main themes. Misguided attraction to other people's hideous follies is an interesting point made by Hladnik. His treatment of sex is daring for its time, as well as his use of voyeurism. Peter's elderly flat mate (Rado Nakrst) is constantly spying on him through the wall, jealous of the fact that he stole a girl from him once. Echoes of Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, made a year earlier, ring softly.

Hladnik's use of dreamlike sequences bolsters the strongly introspective feel of the film, conveying an awkward sense of pessimism and alienation. Both Baloh and Pockaj are convincing. The latter's oscillation between carefree drunk, nostalgic dreamer and manic-depressive is most impressive.

Dance In The Rain's biggest failing is its wonky narrative. Content to meander flaccidly along with its characters, the film lacks a driving force, although remains an accomplished piece of work, with lots of well-observed themes that commonly and universally will both attract and detract.

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2005
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A young man and woman lost in love and life, drift from cafe to cafe, dreaming of a life that may or may not exist.

Director: Bostjan Hladnik

Writer: Bostjan Hladnik, based on the novel by Dominik Smole

Starring: Miha Baloh, Rado Nakrst, Dusa Pockaj, Ali Raner, Joze Zupan

Year: 1961

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Yugoslavia


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