The word brings to mind a range of images and situations. It might be the heady and intoxicating early days of a budding relationship, it could also refer to mellow and seasoned connection between two lovers after many years together, and it certainly could apply to one person’s attempts to woo and seduce a partner. But in the sense that director Andrej Lupin employs it, “Romance” is the succinct and utterly perfect description of the relationship his two gifted stars are so deeply involved in. As the film begins the encounter is already underway. Framed in tight close up, Anna Rose and Lucy Li face one another, lingering, savoring the sweet moments before their lips meet.
An updated arrangement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” ads a rich moodiness, and also mirrors the pace and tempo of the action. Love hangs heavy in this room, the yearning anticipation is nearly palpable, and the desire these two truly stunning women feel for each other will not be denied. While Lupin’s lens occasionally pulls back to provide context, for most of “Romance” it’s in close, so close it’s almost a third participant in the interlude, yet it is never obtrusive – instead it puts the viewer in the space. The texture of warm skin, the loving look in glittering eyes, a throbbing nipple, a flicking tongue, a long hank of lustrous hair – every physical detail of these stunning performers is rendered with eye-pleasing detail and painterly style. And the power of the connection, the love, the passion, the hunger, and the pleasure they give, take, and share is conveyed masterfully to the viewer.
Anna Rose and Lucy Li are perfectly cast. Similar in some ways, starkly different in others, each immerses herself so completely in the role, in the moment, in the scene, that they lose themselves in each other even as they transcend the line between acting and sharing a lush, vivid, and passionate experience. Welcome to a world of exquisite emotion and eroticism, welcome to “Romance.”