Finding ‘Love & Engineering’ at the Tribeca Film Festival

There is definite fun to be had at a film festival.  While you’re waiting on line for ‘rush’ tickets, you might spot a B-list celebrity. Hey, was that Ed Burns? How cool is that? Plus you get to see good movies before anyone else. And the director is usually on hand afterwards for an audience Q&A. On the downside, volunteers with clipboards will occasionally send you in the wrong direction, and worse, tickets for hot movies go fast. So instead of seeing the indie hipster flick you wanted to see, you end up going to a Finnish-German-Bulgarian co-production that was the only thing you could get tickets for. Worse yet, it’s a documentary.


Which brings us to Love & Engineering. Filmed in Helsinki, the Capital of Fun, L&E follows the attempts of science PhD guy Atanas Boev to teach his fellow computer engineer geeks how to pick up women.  Since they are all engineers, there will be flowcharts, Powerpoint presentations, and electrodes attached to faces. They’re not just out to pick up women – they’re going to hack them. Hilarity and pathos ensues.


Yes, it’s kind of like “The Big Bang Theory.” And yes, given this premise, the movie could have been sexist. But the guys are real, lovable and pathetic. Leader Atanas has a stutter so fierce he could almost be a Sacha Baron-Cohen character. The other guys are equally, though less obviously, damaged people. One seems to have a mild case of Asperger’s, one decides to start wearing a naval uniform for no reason, and the rest are equally clueless. You can’t help but cheer them on as they try to woo women by describing their favorite computer games.

Director Tonislav Hristov keeps the proceedings moving along nicely, aided by a fun electronic score by Petar Dundakov. Happily, English is the international language of science, so it is possible to watch a foreign movie without having to read subtitles. It’s definitely worthwhile to see this movie if it gets picked up for distribution.

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Love & Engineering director Tonislav Hristov (center) with music guy (right) and film festival woman (left)


Stuck in Moose Falls, Idaho? Live near New York but don’t have the scratch for movie tickets? Have no fear! A whole bunch of documentaries are available to watch online, for free, at Tribeca Film Online. You don’t have to stand in line or anything, and you can vote for a winner just like at a real festival. Just register online, allow Google Panopticon to see all your personal information, and you’re good to go! Have a Happy Nice Time!

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