Arcticu Kitsu's blog

A Canadian view of Anime figures, events, and things foreign.

Arcticu Kitsu's blog - A Canadian view of Anime figures, events, and things foreign.

[Movie] Modra

This movie took me a couple years just to get my hands on it. I ended up having to set it to record on Bell Fibe’s PVR recording overnight to allow for me to watch it during the afternoon. I’ve been curious and wanting to see how this movie played out. I was curious to see what I would recognize from my many visits there and to see Modra from a fellow Canadian’s perspective.

– Teen romance set in Modra Slovakia.

(All images taken from the official site; Would like to apologize for any nostalgic ramblings, but do hope you enjoy them.)

I was overly curious  for four years about how entertaining and fruitful this movie would be. When I got wind of it during its release back in 2010 I was trying to loosely find a way to watch this movie into to see how nice of a movie it actually is for my of nostalgia for my many trips there. All those family and relative related trips there to meet family and friends, almost like Lina here, with both of us traveling to Europe to reach Slovakia, Modra.

I’m also going to say that this movie is quite trippy as it was filmed by a Canadian from Toronto when I’m from Ottawa who hasn’t filmed anything while being to Modra MANY times. Modra was like my second home with many fond memories, and dark. Just seeing this movie existing is odd to me. This movie touches on an odd note that it might as well be called ‘Ottawa’, filmed in Ottawa, dealing with gangster life, hipsters, arrogance, and people chanting “OC Transpo sucks!” with an equal rating of 6.2/10 from online movie ranking sites of 50/50 enjoyment and disappointment. Wish I could have used the Bell Fibe’s PVR recording to spam my article full of scenery images from it.

There wasn’t much to the movie of itself to discuss so I attempted to merge my experience with it so I do hope you’ll enjoy my nostalgic ramblings to try and match what the movie tried to offer onto the table.

– Related Links & Articles:

– Modra Movie homepage:
http://www.modrathemovie.com/

– Modra SK:
http://www.modra.sk/

– Europe Trip 2008 –
Part 1 & Part 2

– Synopsis:

Lina is a 17 years old and lives in Toronto with her mother. For one week during the summer holidays she plans to visit her extended family in Modra, a small town in Slovakia. When Lina is dumped by her boyfriend she invites Leco instead, a cute boy from school.

Not long after arriving in Modra, Lina and Leco discover they have little in common. To make matters worse, Lina’s family assumes that a romance is afoot. So far from home, they are forced to confront one another leading to an explosion of repressed desire and confusion.

Featuring performances by newcomers Hallie Switzer and Alexander Gammal, MODRA is a journey into the heightened emotional chaos of two teenagers, a time when adulthood has not yet arrived, but childhood seems to have already long vanished.

General Thoughts:

When watching the movie I was actually quite bored with it. I wasn’t really all that interested in any teen romance, nor their love quarreling. I only ended up watching this movie because of my connection to Modra and Slovakia. If I was still a teen I might have actually enjoyed this movie to the fullest for all the low-leveled teen romance quarreling going on. It might have been on par with Eurotrip due to my view-points back then. Now however, it struggles to even reach the fun and craziness of even Eurotrip with the way I see things now when compared with then. Lina and Leco could have done much better by showing their interest for one another in a more proper, more proper emotional level, and respectful manner, along same to the Modra natives level.

It was mostly “GO FUCK THAT GUY IF YOU’RE GOING TO LEAVE ME ALONE AFTER BRINGING ME HERE!“  to “YOU’RE A FUCKING CHILD IN A TEEN BODY YOU JACKASS!“. That’s all? That’s the spark? Guys from Modra took a liking to Lina, likewise with Leco with the girls, so Leco threw a tantrum so they both had a childish fit and then swiftly made up and acted like great friends after a boring and somewhat forced conflict. Simplified, necessary and unnecessary to just uninteresting. Something is missing…..

This movie annoyed me with it’s continuity issues, jumping around, mellowness, teen romance, and whiny side.

When leaving Toronto some guy calls Slovakia “Slovenia” which is a common issue with those in the North American continent. I’ve encountered the same thing as Lina has with Slovakia. It’s a nice jab to your fellow Canadians & Americans who intentionally or unintentionally misspell Slovakia, say it inappropriately, or even openly insult it because Slovakia reminds them of the Russian hatred drilled deep into Canadian and North American culture. The continuity errors I also witnessed was the traveling scene to Modra and the cycling to find Lina near the end of the movie that appeared out of sync with everything else.

The plane trip to what I’m assuming is Vienna to a train-ride to Bratislava’s train station to the main bus station to a car ride to Modra to the home I know well seems off. I guess that trip itself could be plausible, though confusing. From Vienna one would take a bus ride to the main station itself. That main train ride seemed like a sloppy way of traveling by leaving a scene that may or may not be necessary to edit out. Next up – The cycling to find Lina took him from the home PAST the cinema heading straight downtown by the post office to his right which then took him TO the “kino” (cinema) which would have been on his way. He should have went from that English school home to the Kino to the post office and to wherever Lina was resting on that bench instead.

Another fun fact that I know all to well being my friends pronouncing Slovak words in the English pronunciations. I’m not any better and not a master of either the English nor Slovak language. I however can speak and understand it that I try and speak both properly. There was this one scene with Leco cooking palacinky (rolled up pancakes with jam inside), of which I love greatly, calling it “Pala-CHINK-E”. The way I heard it was ‘Palace Chinese’ – type of manner. That’s not how you say it! Had a little fun with that.

This movie however did a nice job showing life from the Modra side of things, if brief and snipped. Loved the little cultural things placed in it. There could have been so much more showing from both sides. You’re taken on a sleepy ride from beginning, middle, with some quick jet-lagged fun at the end to happily leave the movie where it was shown. More life, more emotions, and more festive fun could have been shown. This movie however appears to be kept simple and quiet because it is in respect for the family and relatives of the director who made the film. Something nice and simple so her and her family and relatives could have fun with it in a peaceful manner. Also something for schools, if they so choose to do so. A nice memento; Long-term memory to pay respects to those alive and dead in her family.

I loved how they even added Bratislava into the mix at the beginning and end as you have to go through Bratislava to get anywhere. The nice UFO bridge, the special mall on the other end of the Danube, the gorgeous “little big city” red trams on the Market street WITH a Canadian flag, and the Bratislava castles. Bratislava, Modra, and Slovakia are all a nice place to visit IF you can keep an open mind. If the movie was more of on the adventurous side then this movie would have been rated higher, or as high as Eurotrip.

I wish Lina would have at least grasped the Slovak language. I understood EVERYTHING they said to her. I even know that Modra means blue, even if I was told “it may or may not mean that” by friends and relatives. I could have poorly responded back to each and every one of them, more so when my Slovak side reawakened to speak to each and every one while expecting laughter with how I pronounce slovak words. I know the first home, I apparently know the red headed teacher when I taught and was taught, and I assumingly know the bearded ranch guy who gave me Slovak’s version of Pepsi/Coca-cola named Kofola when me and my Canadian-Greek friend visited back in 2003. That Kofola was awesome! So was the original Slovakian made chips at Modra’s ranch. I remember briefly riding a horse at that ranch in the movie, and drinking Zlaty Bazant till I saw clouds and girls puking, confused as to why I wouldn’t hit on them in my innocent Canadian manner. Seeing Modra in that foggy pirate-horror movie like manner is also something to remember, and wish made it into the movie. I’m horrible around girls, which I’ll openly admit….even though they get quite curious and almost overly intimate with kisses on the cheeks.

– Downtown Modra.

I however did enjoy all the big and little things in this movie about Modra when filtering out Lina and Leco’s romance from the mix. I enjoyed seeing the English home where I taught English (with an overly wild imagination) as a kid when the car first pulled into when driving through Modra. I remember going on about fantasy plants thriving in Canada in a similar fashion to how Lina and Leco stood and answered questions in front of the class there. I remember being taught English in return. I was gifted many books and a red car lock, which I lost the combo for, in respect and kindness when being a kid. We welcomed one another, we were happy to be together, and we had fun.

I remember going to school there, running and being called a loser (respectfully by classmates and teachers) for not properly crossing the finish line because I thought it was closer and not farther. I remember getting my teeth pulled out at the school’s dentist room. Going to an internet cafe in the downtown area, even with a group of girls. Drinking Coca-Cola at a Koruna next the main church. Having glorious Modra made ice-creams of various vanilla, banana and “vanilla” flavoured. Having special Hungarian made hamburgers was also quite glorious to the taste bud. Chilling out at cafes and restaurants in the open and closed fancy tables, drinking with my Canadian-Greek friend and having a blast with Zlaty Bazant drinks and the locals while punching circus signs. Hell, that “Kino” (cinema) also holds memories of me as a kid trying to grab the pool balls, watching movies in the theater, going to the ranch, and even having fun in the majority of the places Lina and Leco went. Could have had those more worked up fun and emotions instead heh. Could have dived deeper into the drinking and party side for example.

This movie, as boring as it is from the teen romance side, was quite entertaining with the small things that made Modra….well….Modra. That announcement system is something I also remember quite happily with how it wold just ding with overly formal announcements about water issues, special food deliveries (discontinued), siren testings, and etc. I CAN F****** UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE SAYING! It may seem obnoxious for how loud and bland it sounds, though I still enjoy and understand the Slovak grammar formalities spoken on it.

I wish the movie explored the mini-mall for them to gather food, or to take a SAD bus to the mountains to enjoy a brief cottage life to tour the mountains. Even trying out some of the fruit and berries up there. As much as it seemed happy to show Modra it simplified itself too much.

The other parts of the movie I quite enjoyed were the traditional gatherings outdoors with beer and food. Those are all too common when you have guests because you try to make your guests feel welcomed, even if you hate them. That traditional folk dance and singing is something I have yet to experience as that’s more of a family and deep Slovakian route. Something left for the town’s festivities instead. I instead experienced more “slice-of-life” fun in Modra….all from overly cheerful to more of Modra’s dark-sides.

Pros:

– A nice memento, tribute, and/or heir-loom to the director’s family and relatives.
– Nice to see Slovakian slice-of-life being shown with people drinking at the Kino, home parties, and general life.
– The little nostalgic slice-of-life of Modra being added into the movie of the announcement system, palacinky, Kino night-life, drinking, partying, cycling, stopping at the zebra crossing, and etc.
– I apparently know 1-2 people in that movie. One being that red-headed teacher (whom I sadly forgot due to me being a kid back then), and the bearded ranch guy who offered Kofola and Slovakian made chips, both of which being enjoyable.
– Being able to see Bratislava, Modra, and all the landmarks that I’ve seen was awesome. Seeing the Kino, ranch, pool, hearing the announcement system, seeing palacinky, that cemetery. All of that brings back memories. I also saw the ice cream shops, the godly ice cream, the main church, downtown square, school, post office, and the upper hills. All of that was nice and nostalgic.
– Spotting scenery I haven’t been to yet due to lacking kid & touristy curiosity.
– I loved seeing Bratislava’s market street (which also proudly displays a Canadian flag) with the two Bratislava trams. Seeing it brought back a nice memory between myself and my friend who had to point out the flag to me back in 2003.
– Canadian pride! Seeing that kid in the red Canadian shirt is all too common in Modra, or at least when I was there. Love seeing Canadian connections in Modra.

Cons:

– Sloppiness and continuity errors. The travel to Modra having Lina and Leco going through what I’m assuming is Vienna to a train station (down near Raca in Bratislava) to the main station. Could have simply went to Vienna, bused to the main station, and cared to Modra. Same thing with the cycling when Leco cycled from his Modra home, passing the Kino, to the Post office, ending back at the Kino, and somehow ending up at some random bench I haven’t seen in Modra.
– The teen romance itself being boring and overly annoying and agitating. Go cry me a river! I’m most likely spoiled by Anime sob-stories in more complexity than what may be purposely simplified for this movie as a memento.
– Not being able to see Modra’s mini-mall, Koruna restaurant, and other find bits of nostalgic places I’ve been to.
– More could have been done with the introduced characters and the main characters. As fun as it was to meet them I really felt lacking connection to the majority of them. They felt hollow, incomplete, lacking in depth, and just overly simplified for a quick 1 hour and 30 minutes (or so) movie.
– Music seemed non-existent that I can’t even comment on it. Only the traditional dancing was awesome.
– Lina should know her Slovak. I understood everything being said to her, even from the old guy on the wooden tourist tower on the mini-mountain I have yet to go onto.
– Movie is quite a pain in the rear to obtain. Had troubles getting my hands on it to watch it. Had to use Bell Fibe’s PVR system to record and watch. I couldn’t even copy it and take images from it to spam my article with it. Disappointing.

—-

It was nice, and I’m glad I finally crossed this movie off the list. I enjoyed all the nostalgic slice-of-life and scenery from it. I however wish it was more adventurous and not an overly simplified romance film. Would I recommend this? Only if you’re curious about what Modra looks like while somehow filtering out Lina and Leco. I rate this the same as the other sides with a 6/10.  I only watched this because it has a place important to me with half or a quarter of the fun Modra has to offer. Wish this movie offered more on the adventurous side or more proper emotions.

(If you would love to know more about me and Modra then feel free to ask me. Don’t behave like a spy, just ask and I’ll happily mention my trips to Slovakia. I have friend’s of relatives who enjoy spying on me so that annoys me greatly as they’re assumingly talking shit behind my back.)

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