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Movie Review: 'Here and There' is a touching spot

May 21, 2010|By Kevin Thomas

Darko Lungulov's "Here and There," slight yet deft and affecting, finds a seedy, dour, middle-age saxophonist named Robert (David Thornton) down and out in Manhattan, facing eviction. He strikes an unexpected deal with Serbian émigré Branko (Branislav Trifunovic): Branko will pay him $5,000 if Robert goes to Belgrade and marries Branko's girlfriend (Jelena Mrdja), thereby enabling her to come to New York.

Belgrade proves to be impoverished and run-down, but its people are kind and hospitable, especially Olga (Mirjana Karanovic), Branko's mother, a lovely and gracious divorcée, with whom Robert stays — and who's helpfully fluent in English. Olga's charm and resilience ignites a spark of life in the despondent, taciturn Robert, but then Branko's van is stolen: How will he be able to afford to replace it and also pay Robert?

"Here and There" is a wisp of a wry comedy but Lungulov's touch is delicate, even piercingly so, and his direction of actors, especially Thornton and Karanovic, is beautifully nuanced. Cyndi Lauper (who is married to Thornton) is cast as a wary friend of Robert's and also is heard singing behind the end credits.

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"Here and There." MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes. In English and some Serbian, with English subtitles. Playing at the Music Hall, Beverly Hills.

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