Love Story (2011)

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Released 8-May-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Cast & Crew-Behind the scenes with Florian (20:47)
Deleted Scenes-Deletes Scenes (14:35)
Featurette-World Premiere (18:01)
Featurette-Phone Message (1:08)
Short Film-Liebestraume (7:09)
Trailer-Trailer (2:55)
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (8:52)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 93:02 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:12) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Florian Habicht

Madman Entertainment
Starring Shauna Goodgold
Florian Habicht
Masha Yakovenko
Marc Chesterman
Georges Delerue
Ennio Morricone
Nino Rota
Lalo Schifrin
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Marc Chesterman
Georges Delerue
Ennio Morricone

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Love Story is the brainchild of German-born New Zealander Florian Habicht. It is part documentary, part narrative, and perhaps part mockumentary. It pays homage to Woody Allen's Manhattan and Federico Fellini's 8 1/2. It also includes a cast of diverse and some eccentric New Yorkers who willingly give advice to our protagonist, Florian Habicht himself, as to what to do next in the film's narrative.

     Love Story was only possible due to Habicht winning the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency Award worth $US80,000, in 2009. Habicht is known in New Zealand for his idiosyncratic films. His début feature, Woodenhead (2003), is a fairy-tale which had the soundtrack recorded before shooting the visuals. This was followed by the documentaries Kaikohe Demolition (2004), Rubbings from a Live Man (2008) and Land of the Long White Cloud (2009), a film about a five-day fishing competition. Having won the residency award, Habicht was under no obligation to use the funds to make a film, but he decided to anyway, on account of it being 'so much fun'!

     Habicht plays himself looking for love in the Big Apple. He meets a Russian girl (Masha Yakovenko) carrying a piece of cake near the subway. He ponders about what the odds are of him seeing her again. He elicits advice from New Yorkers he meets on the streets. He then sees Masha again and asks other New York natives for help as to what to do next. Florian also gets advice from his famous photographer father, Frank Habicht, through Skype calls on his laptop. This unique film allows the audience, this being the New York residents in the film and Florian's father, to direct the narrative of the film. A jazz and romantic score inspired by Woody Allen, Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone adds to the wistful nature of the plot.

     Habicht is forthright and assertive in his approach towards strangers, showing courage in asking for advice about his love life. Examples include jumping into a stockbroker’s taxi and asking her how he should ‘woo’ his new date and meeting two women at a convenience store, who happen to be actresses, and asking for help for Habicht’s and Masha's love scene. Florian and Masha also try using a breakfast cereal as an aphrodisiac and the film contains a few glowing praises for James Cameron's Titanic, which is odd considering the obvious film references to Woody Allen's Manhattan and Federico Fellini's 8 1/2.

     Cinematographer Maria Ines Manchego, a fellow New Zealander, makes the city of New York one of characters of the film through many pristine landscape and background shots of iconic landmarks such as Coney Island, the East Village, Wall Street and the Empire State building (and other notable locations around Manhattan). These visuals are interspersed with handheld video footage of New Yorkers up-close, so the audience gets to see and appreciate the dichotomy of a rare setting in the city of New York and her inhabitants.

     Habicht's premise for Love Story is a metaphorical appreciation of the optimism and hope that love offers, despite the pitfalls and struggles synonymous with any romantic relationship.

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Transfer Quality


     Love Story was shot using a Canon 5D and 35mm film lenses, together with Florian Habicht's camcorder.

     The aspect ratio is 1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     Love Story is presented on a 7.3 gb dual-layered DVD-9 disc, with an average bitrate of 7.25 m/b per sec. The film, as presented on this DVD, is gorgeous, with sharp visuals and pristine detail. Shadow detail is also very good.

     The colour palette is warm, emphasising the romantic nature of the film, with the contrast favouring reds predominantly.

     Film artefacts are intentional, as shots are contrasted between beautiful visuals of New York City, and resident interviews using a camcorder. These contain aliasing and compression issues at times.

     Unfortunately, subtitles are not available, but foreign language is forcibly subtitled.

     The RSDL change occurs at 73:12, and is not noticeable as it occurs during a scene transition.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Marc Chesterman, the sound designer, sourced Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack as these men are two of Chesterman's and Habicht's favourite film composers.

     There are two soundtracks. The main soundtrack is an English Dolby Digital 5.1track encoded at 448 kbps. A secondary track is available in English Dolby Digital stereo 2.0, encoded at 224 kbps. This secondary audio track is not as dynamic as the main 5.1 surround track.

     Dialogue is clear and synchronised.

     Apart from references to Rota and Morricone in the soundtrack, Marc Chesterman has favoured a jazz score to support the idea of 'momentum' in the narrative.

     The surround mix supports the soundtrack mainly, and is well-balanced with discrete ambient effects during Habicht's 'fantasy' scenes.

     The subwoofer mainly is utilised as support for the jazz-inspired soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Behind the scenes with Florian (20:47)

     Florian Habicht discusses how the project came about, the improvisational nature of the script, the people he met in New York City, the influence of his father (a famous photographer in his own right), the theatrical showings of the film in New York City, London and Poland and his difficulties in being unable to get a nationwide theatrical release of Love Story in the United States.

Deleted Scenes (14:35)

     Thirteen deleted scenes show interviews with people on the streets of New York City.

World Premiere (18:01)

     This segment was filmed at the New Zealand Film Festival on the 14th of July, 2011 in Auckland. Bill Gosden introduces the film while director Florian Habicht takes questions from the audience. We also get a live phone call from Masha Yakovenko in New York City! Editor Peter O'Donoghue, cinematographer Maria Ines Manchego and co-writer Marc Chesterman also join Habicht on stage to discuss the film. The segment was documented by Bob Van Der Wal. (This featurette was shot on a handheld video camera, hence the low level and chroma noise interspersed throughout it.)

Phone Message (1:08)

     The subject of Florian Habicht's 2008 documentary, Rubbings from a Live Man, performance artist Warwick Broadhead, shares his glowing praises of Love Story via mobile phone.

Short Film - Liebestraume (7:09)

     Liebestraume or 'absurd dreams' in German, is a short 16mm film about a character named 'Killer Ray', made when Florian Habicht studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts Intermedia department in 1997, in New Zealand. A longer 80-minute feature film was made later based on this short film (n.b.: the audio soundtrack was recorded prior to shooting the visuals, which was shot later.)

Trailer (2:55)

     The original theatrical trailer.

Madman Propaganda (8:52)

     Four Madman trailers for You Will Be My Son(2:03), Le Havre (2:22), Copacabana (2:09) and Summer Coda (2:18).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 Madman Australian DVD releases is the only one currently available at the time of writing this review.


     Love Story's unconventional style, being part narrative film and part documentary, will leave you either loving this postmodern 'laissez faire' scripted movie or feeling disconnected from it totally. If you are a fan of Woody Allen anti-romantic films, or appreciate the dilemma of Marcello Mastroianni's character Guido Anselmi, who has a creative block in Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and so the original 'film-within-a-film' idea was born, and paid homage to in Love Story, then you'll enjoy this film.

     Made on a small budget over three months, Love Story on DVD boasts some nice visuals, an upbeat score and good extras, making it a reasonable release for an independent film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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