The screen writer and director of this film provide great insights as to how the human spirit can transcend the destruction and pain of war via satire and comedy. Labud ("Swan") is a lonely young man who was displaced by the 1990s Balkan War to Belgrade. He lives in a shelter and works odd jobs to make ends meet. He wants to reconnect with his old flame a hairdresser by trade named Vida who managed to escape to Chicago after the war. Swan tries meeting girls in the city but most ignore him. His last hope is to use a computer dating service, Happy Millenium. He provides the requested details and views videos of close matches with plans to arrange a rendevous. At the Happy Millenium office, Swan makes eye contact with a lovely pretty girl named Romana, a client around his age. The receptionist discourages such a face-to-face meeting stating, it is best to meet anonymously with clients who meet the strict criteria set up by the computer.
When Swan is working and walking around Belgrade, he believes he sees Vida but convinces himself it is impossible since she is in Chicago. Some of the most creative, serious and comedic touches in this film are the many imaginery conversations with the ghosts of his mother and old school professor who advise and admonish him during his search for love. Swan tries to legally leave Belgrade to visit Chicago but there are numerous obstacles in his way. Amazingly, Vida really *is* in Belgrade with the same goal: to revive their old love, the problem is she can not locate him. In a desperate attempt, she leaves a note on a "missing persons" bulletin board not knowing she narrowly missed running into him.
During a computer-match rendevous, Swan visits the predetermined location but makes a fast escape after recognizing an older woman whom he did not like at all on one of the videos. Later that day, he returns to the site only to find Romana standing there, he remembers her from the dating service office. They hit it off as she takes him to cool hang outs in the city and uses the most current Belgrade slang. After their date, Swan follows her one night only to discover she is not what she seems. They have a heart-to-heart talk about the Balkan War and their life circumstances. Another surprising twist in the film is that Romana also has ghostly advisers, her sister, her father, an old lover and various other relatives who comment on her activities and provide a list of "dos"and "don'ts" in a relationship. This film is a huge success based on this highly original technique which shows what a major impact the war has had on the lives of individuals. The use of ghostly interventions is both serious and funny during different scenes. It visually represents how caring relationships although severed by death remain a part of one's consciousness and continue to affect the living.
The film comes to a climax when the Happy Millenium group takes an excursion to a seaside resort. The least expected couples intermingle and the antics are laughing out loud funny. The leader of the Happy Millenium group tries to professionally control the situation with amusing results. The ghostly interference on both sides leads to some complications in the budding relationship between Swan and Romana. I will leave the reader to ponder, did Swan end up with Romana, Vida, someone else, or did he choose to remain alone. Rest assured, the film does a terrific wind-up ending, tying up all the loose ends into a very satisfying finish for everyone involved. Along the way, one discovers some fascinating bits of "family secrets" as the ghostly visitors reminisce about their past. This is one outstanding film. It will impress anyone who loves romantic comedy which mixes cultural differences within a surreal atmosphere. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)