A Year in Shorts Day 351: "Lavatory Lovestory"
Delbert Mann's Marty may not be the best film to win Best Picture, but it is one of the more interesting. A low key romance with Ernest Borgnine as the star, Marty stands apart from most Best Picture winners by focusing on regular people. Marty is a butcher, his love interest is a school teacher, and neither of them look like glamorous movie stars. Despite Marty's critical and commercial success, it did not inspire a long line of imitators, but there are plenty of films out there which follow in its example. Konstantin Bronzit's 2007 short Lavatory Lovestory is another entry in that tradition.
As you can probably surmise from the director's name, Lavatory Lovestory comes to us from Russia, a country not particularly known for its romance. It follows a bathroom attendant who one day discovers a bouquet of flowers left in her tip jar. Convinced that she has a secret admirer (I've convinced myself of the same for less), the lonely attendant sets about trying to discover said admirer's identity. What follows is a cute and gently funny short bound to appeal to any and all lonelyhearts out there. It runs a little long (and isn't big on huge laughs), but its charm and pleasant nature more than compensate for any shortcomings. Sure, it might be strange to set a love story almost entirely in a bathroom, but hey. Love can strike at any time and any place, right?
Much like Marty, Lavatory Lovestory is a fairly simple film, but that's what gives it its charm. The animation, for instance, is deliberately simplistic, featuring crudely drawn characters and a distinct lack of color. And yet Bronzit manages to do a lot with a little, using only a few lines to create fully expressive and sympathetic characters (made all the more impressive given the short's lack of dialogue), and using the mostly monochrome setting to establish the drabness of the world our protagonist lives in. It's nothing we haven't seen before (and often done better), but there's nothing wrong with that. Sure, it might not be great like some of the other shorts it was competing against, but those are some pretty high bars to clear. Sometimes you just need a film that tugs at the heartstrings a little and makes you feel good for the rest of the day. Lavatory Lovestory is one of those films.
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