Seamstresses / Shivachki (2008) – a review
Why is it that whenever people in movies get into a cab and ask to go “downtown”, the driver instantly starts moving the car in a relevant direction as if that means something to him? I admit that if you were in New York then “downtown” could actually mean something. However if I were to leap into a black cab and exclaim “downtown” in London, it is likely that I would forcibly removed from the vehicle due to sheer “wise-arsed-ness”. Okay so this introduction section for the Seamstresses seems a little random but it is a thought that has been bugging me for 15 years and today I have had the opportunity to share it. Don’t like it? Well it’s about to stop now because I have a review to get on with...
Three young girls try to flee from the unemployment in their own city: they arrive in the capital city of Sofia to look for a job and a better future. The three of them try to survive, fighting a hostile reality which threatens to break their innocent and bright ideas of life, imposing on them its vicious morality. One of the girls does break and becomes the love-toy of a pimp. Prompted by her betrayal, the second one gets involved into a love triangle and attempts suicide. The third girl puts up a struggle for her closest friends’ redemption. A story of love, friendship and courage
The Seamstresses could be a tale told in any city and therein lies its appeal. We are thrown into the story very quickly with the first of many scenes that fly by within a blink or two. The plot is revealed to the audience with gusto as if the director didn’t want to be bothered with such minor details. Perhaps he was keen to get on with the juicy bits of the story. By “juicy bits” I mean of course the obligatory naked flash of each of the main characters.
Despite focussing the plot on the three young “innocents” and their inevitable “hard-lesson learning” a solid supporting cast is at hand to keep us entertained throughout, consisting of:
• An adulterous partner,
• His partner
• A stoner yong haired lobbo (did I get that the wrong way round?)
• The “stoner’s” musician partner
Each of the main girls have a tale to tell and each is done relatively well with the exception of Katya’s arc. She annoyed me from the very beginning with her incessant crying every five minutes for any random reason that she saw fit. Admittedly her tale was told from the perspective of another and so not much of her time in Sofia was revealed. This is a shame as by starting out with three main characters it would have been interesting to follow the path equally with all of them.
Naturally, Elena shines through as the object of the stoner’s affections (quite excellently played by both actors). In fact the charm of Zachari (stoner) is quite infectious as he attempts to win Elena’s attention with chairs!
Sadly though, all of the characters seem to be suffering from Disassociative Identity Disorder as each of them seems to go through major character changes between scenes in which there is no indication of time passing. One second Zachari is being charming to Elena and the next second for no explicable reason, he is slamming the door in her face. You may argue that this is what men are like! In fact, if you were to argue this, then I would have to remind you to keep your opinions to yourself and join a feminist group pronto!
The Seamstresses is an enjoyable tale if you spend some time with it. It is easier to spot a bad subtitled film due to the fact that it is a struggle to read and watch it. In this movie though, it is an enjoyable watch and truly entertaining. If you are heading to the London Film Festival this year (2008), make sure you look out for it. It is showing at the Curzon Mayfair at 14:00 on the 17th of October and at 21:00 on the 24th. It’ll be money well spent. If only the director / writer (Lyudmil Todorov) had not ended it with such a quick fade then I might have given it a higher score. This is my first time at watching Bulgarian film and I am eager to try more thanks to Seamstresses.
Rating: 4 out of 5