In what might be a chance encounter shot by a documentary film crew, Milan Mumin, the real-life former lead singer for Love Hunter, an influential Serbian band, encounters an excited fan in the U.S. who says it’s like meeting a good friend from high school.
Now 40, Mumin drives a cab in New York as he writes songs and saves money — either to record an album or to buy a ring for his girlfriend. Love Hunter the film is not a documentary, though, despite glancing, kinetic handheld camerawork. Blending fact and fiction, the story involves Mumin’s Serbian girlfriend visiting him during the week in which he’s rehearsing with a band for recording sessions.
The film contrasts the high drama of Milan’s music, characterized by emotional power chords and wrenching vocals, with the banality of his New York subsistence lifestyle. The charismatic Mumin writes lyrics in his head as he drives, the film dropping ambient sounds in favor of his hushed voiceover, singing a cappella as New York spills past the windows.
He gets into conversations with his passengers about relationships as his own relationship begins to deteriorate; in one beatific sequence, as he plays a CD of one of his older songs for a passenger, the film cuts to actual old concert footage of young Mumin with his band, performing for a huge Serbian audience, furiously pumping his arms, sweating shirtless under the lights. And occasionally, when the film reaches emotional peaks, Milan bursts into full song, revealing his fully orchestrated interiority.
So Love Hunter probably counts as a musical, the film’s a sad, gentle valediction for a young artist’s dream.