Just like many other things in life, making films is often inspired by love. Anyone can fall in love, but only the rare few are able to express it. There are so many things at play, from the uniqueness of each relationship, to the myriad of social conventions about these relationships… Love often remains a vague idea, a concept difficult to define, however, the directors whose films are presented in continuation were brave enough to try.
Since we believe that such a strong emotion should be felt, this Valentine’s Day, whether you are single or in a relationship, get in the mood for love with our selection of romantic-themed shorts, depicting love that is exciting, harrowing, worn out, or with butterflies in the stomach...
If you are looking for love (or something else) on dating apps, check out ‘Lovebox’ directed by Ivan Turković-Krnjak
Lovebox (dir. Ivan Turković-Krnjak) brings a story of our times in which love has to find a way to adapt in the age of technology. Dating apps structure finding ‘the one’ by creating a space for self-promotion of the best possible versions of ourselves. Charisma and charm are no longer measured by exchanging glances on a tram but by how skilled one is in writing messages, and our protagonist Miro is far from it. Miro has a huuuge problem and is looking for a girl who will help, but his quest proves less than fruitful. His lines don’t usually work, but when the shock factor does help him score a date, his risky messages don’t really add up with the image of a shy fast food worker and he soon realises that he is not the only one not being honest on these apps.
If you're looking for an escape from your everyday life and want to peek into somebody else’s love story, here’s ‘From One Day to Another’ directed by Sara Hribar
From One Day to Another (dir. Sara Hribar) follows two days in the life of a young couple. As their marriage is rendered in its simplest possible form, we are able to see love from a third point of view. Watching films offers us an opportunity to take a step back from our routines and feelings and to see our problems in a much clearer light, making them seem much smaller and easier to solve. Veering away from classical depictions of perfect relationships, as well as dire ones, From One Day to Another portrays coupled life as grey – simply a series of good moments and bad. The film focuses on how to separate parental love and our idea of a perfect family from our own emotions – and offers no solutions. But what it does offer is consolation, found in the little moments of comfort and the realisation that the shifting of boundaries between intimacy and being strangers and acceptance of change are sometimes necessary but are not the same thing as the end of love.
If you want to find balance in love, opt for director Dijana Bolanča Paulić short ‘Out of Season’
Out of Season (dir. Dijana Bolanča Paulić) shows us a different side of family life. While some couples stay together for the sake of children, others separate because there are no children in the picture. As each romantic relationship evolves and matures, a new set of questions arise, from “when will you get engaged” to “when will you tie the knot” and “any babies in the works”. The expectations of society and our surroundings are set at face value and without thinking, but (re)evaluating love and one’s relationship is something we all do and something that is very personal. On the one hand, Katja is with the person she loves, but on the other, she has a very specific, unrequited wish. For her finding fulfilment in life through children seems very appealing, but her husband does not share her ideas. In making these sort of decisions, apart from a touch of rational thinking, they are mostly guided by purely emotional reasons that don’t require much explaining. The day flies by quickly in the film, just like Karla feels that the window in which she can still become a mom is closing.
If you’re looking for love in all the wrong places – take a look at ‘Frog in Love’ directed by Ivana Guljašević
Animated film Frog in Love (dir. Ivana Guljašević) is a playful portrayal of being in love in a way that causes a change in us. Butterflies in the belly make us braver, and sometimes dumber than we normally are. Wars have been waged and ended for love, while Frog in Love shows us that even though we sometimes chase after the wrong things and people, it is precisely our quest and the mistakes we make along the way that bring us to that which is meant just for us.
If you use love as an excuse to avoid everything else, ‘Counter-offensive’ directed by Jakov Nola is the way to go
Counter-offensive (dir. Jakov Nola) is an ironic take on toxic masculinity, as well as on supressing one’s feelings. A society built on the foundations of strong men that do not exhibit emotions creates gender stereotypes that are only just now being explored in world cinema. In their student apartment Josip and Roko, fuelled by alcohol and drugs, reach the height of misogyny, rendered through an argument with their female roommate who is not present in person but only in their story. Josip’s romantic frustrations revolve around the female roommate, without her uttering a single word, thus narratively highlighting the fact that his frustrations run much deeper than his roommate’s sex life. Instead of expressing his feelings towards his ex-girlfriend and roommate, Josip resorts to aggressive behaviour and bad language, which Roko endorses as an easy solution. Is it love or something sexual, are a man and a woman living together in a small apartment bound to end up together, or is that just an idea that we repeat to ourselves, thus reinforcing it?
If you’re looking for a walk down romantic memory lane, director Lana Kosovac’ ‘The Park of Love’ is the choice for you
The Park of Love (dir. Lana Kosovac) is best described by the archival footage of the Croatian national television in the film’s opening sequence, “But they love each other. Their love is one of a kind compared to everything around them and they don’t care about statistics and percentages.” Long-lasting love, depicted honestly and deprived of made-up romance, a true human story of adoration, admiration and understanding. The documentary portrays couples who memorialised their love by planting a tree, but actually takes us into the midst of peculiarities of each of these relationships. These relationships show us that love, whether long-lasting or fleeting, makes us compromise and be more tolerant, work on ourselves and on the relationship. No matter how much we research and hypothesise about love, it is both bitter and sweet, complicated and easy, and it is ours alone.