By Don Simpson | August 13, 2015
Directors: Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen
Writers: Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen
Starring: Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen, Rupert Friend, Jennifer Ulrich, Stuart Manashil, Mia Jacob, Ben Braun, Lena Ehlers, Kate Mackeson, Jason Ritter
Anderson (Alex Holdridge) is a floundering filmmaker who sees his last big opportunity for success in the form of Supercollider, a science fiction screenplay that he has been trying to get off the ground for several years. The production green light hinges on whether Anderson can convince some high profile actors to sign on, so his agent sends him to Berlin to meet with Jason Ritter (Jason Ritter). The hitch is that Anderson first needs to convince himself that he still wants to make Supercollider.
Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, the Berlin trip proves to be perfect time for Anderson to get away from home. It seems like destiny that the destination is Berlin, the very city in which he met Lina (Linnea Saasen), the woman who has been monopolizing his thoughts ever since their spontaneous sojourn to Montenegro several years ago. But what are the chances that Anderson might run into Lina again?
At first, Anderson seems to just want an explanation (and apology) for why Lina suddenly disappeared from Montenegro at the height of their happiness as a couple. As Anderson grows increasingly obsessed with Lina, he pushes the business aspects of his trip to the back burner.
Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen’s Meet Me in Montenegro compares and contrasts the difficulties for anyone to remain happy in a relationship and achieve success in a fulfilling career. Lina and Anderson are cleverly juxtaposed with Stephen (Rupert Friend) and Friederike (Jennifer Ulrich), whose lives have stagnated after living together for several years. The four protagonists haphazardly juggle romantic fantasies with dreams of ideal careers; all the while Holdridge and Saasen keenly observe how the characters’ choices, specifically in how they prioritize their lives, impact each of their narrative arcs. Even when a character presumably makes the “right” choice to seize an opportunity, uncontrollable factors (what some might call fate) peskily intervene.
A true reflection of life, nothing in Meet Me in Montenegro is straightforward or easy. The four characters seem to know what they want, but just cannot figure out how to get it. They take risks that rarely pay off, instead they end up being punished by ever-increasing debt. They might seem to be idealistic daydreamers, but they certainly do not deserve to be struggling as much as they are, thus producing personalities who are more piteous than you might expect.
There is something uniquely Sartrean about Meet Me in Montenegro, as Lina and Anderson seek to achieve happiness (ultimate freedom? love?) by shedding any and all excess baggage, thus disassociating themselves from the stressful rat race of Capitalism. Rather than obliging by societal norms and finding ways to pay off debt, they rebel by choosing another path altogether.