Idle Running

Idle Running


Reviewed by: Paz Newis

What does it mean?

Idle, like a car engine? Idle running/Running Idle? Or maybe it's closer to Lazy Flight? Or what about Static Sprint?

Well, this is the problem with films in translation. I've heard that people learn a language in order to read an author in the original tongue. Some films can inspire the same desire. Is V leru a common phrase with gradations of meaning? Or is it just the title of this film?

It starts with a soliloquy by Dizzy (Jan Cvitkovic) and we get the idea that he might be depressed. Existentialism is usually a bit of a give away. He seems a decent guy. He has friends; they drink, play cards and fusball. He has a girlfriend.

It becomes apparent that the action takes place on a university campus. Country boy Marco is the very straight-seeming, bookish freshman, who moves in to share a room, the complete contrast to too-cool-for-school Dizzy. The cinematographer Simon Tansek sensibly limits his shots and angles, building a sense of ennui and helpless inertia that Dizzy rails against. After some time, by his own inaction, even he sees that the problem lies within. He quotes Chairman Mao: "Wherever you go, your ass is always behind you."

The film's 90 minutes is Dizzy's odyssey, highlighting relationships, friendships, moral questions, issues of self-image and that which we present to others. Marco isn't the goody-two-shoes he appears at first. He has a "babe" who moves into the shared room and is obviously pregnant.

Dizzy's friends are dramatic and comic foils, like the college dropout with a wife and child, who labours on a building site, and the classic beardy tomfool student, who drinks and smokes and has fun with girls, but does not trouble himself with the questions that plague Dizzy. Then there is the infatuated, good-looking couple that can't keep their lips off each other and a larger lady with her seriously depressed roommate and the girl who is a friend but perhaps should be more.

Janez Burger has crafted a touching story with a beginning, middle and end. The characters are engaging and have a strong feel of truth about them. There are interwoven stories of love, life, choices, joy and loss. A whole lot is crammed into the film's brief run, much more than most two-and-a-half hour Hollywood blockbusters - Messrs SKG, Warner, Fox & Sony, please take note.

I will make an effort to seek out more of this exciting filmmaker's work.

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2005
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Odyssey of a perennial student.

Director: Janez Burger

Writer: Janez Burger, Jan Cvitkovic

Starring: Jan Cvitkovic, Janez Rus, Mojca Fatur, Polona Lovsin, Natasa Burger, Drago Milinpvic, Matjaz Javsnik, Ksenija Jambrosic

Year: 1999

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Slovenia


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