Bulgarian Lovers

There is something really seedy and despicable about the way people manipulate each other in Bulgarian Lovers, the new film by Eloy de la Iglesia, who has a penchant for shocking viewers. He disappeared for a while due to personal problems, but returns with the adaptation of Eduardo Mendicutti's novel. Bulgarian Lovers is difficult to watch both because of a strong desire to strangle the lead characters and because of problematic plotting. The former is supposed to evoke strong emotions, the latter is an unintentional result. So this film has the odd distinction of annoying people, both because it wants to and because at times it's not much of a movie.

Daniel (Fernando Guillen Cuervo, Talk to Her, Don Quixote, Knight Errant) is a businessman. He and his friends prowl gay bars looking for young impressionable men. They are rich, and these young men, especially the immigrants, tend to be poor. It's easy to find a lover and ply him with money and food for sex. On one of these escapades, Daniel meets Kyril (Dritan Biba), a Bulgarian immigrant. Apparently, Bulgarians have a reputation for being really hot, so Daniel quickly latches onto him. Kyril has a girlfriend in Germany, and lies to her about his relationship with Daniel.

Daniel is using Kyril for easy companionship, and his affection soon turns to obsession. Because of this, Daniel is more and more of a wimp to Kyril's actions. He is using Daniel for money, and has something really shady going on. Daniel is curious, but not enough to do anything about it. Even when it becomes pretty certain that Kyril is doing something illegal, and when he returns injured, Daniel still does nothing. The arrival of Kyril's girlfriend Kalina (Anita Sinkovic) worsens things. Kyril is lying to her about Daniel and what he does, and Daniel is feeling more resentful and jealous.

Kyril is like a drug for Daniel. He is turned on by the danger, even though he knows it is bad for him. An attempt to break up with Kyril ends quickly, and Kyril always seems to win their fights. The interesting thing about these two people is that they know they are using each other, and don't seem to mind that much. For Daniel, it's more frustrating. It's obvious that things are not going well for him, but he keeps going to Kyril. How hard would it be to pick up another not-so-innocent foreigner? Bulgarian Lover is typically the two having sex, fighting, or Daniel moping, which quickly becomes annoying. However, that is exactly what de la Iglesia, who adapted the novel with Fernando Guillen Cuervo (The Year of Maria, Airbag) and Antonio Hens (Doors Cut Down). There's not much substance to the film otherwise, and it tends to drag at times.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 41 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains language, nudity and sexual situations, most likely an NC-17.

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