A declaration of love can hide the cruelest intentions. It’s a strategy we already know from several classic novels and films, but Nevena Nikolova’s short film doesn’t hesitate to take you by surprise in the most unexpected ways. From one point of view, ‘L+T‘ is a modern version of ‘The Dangerous Liaisons’, in that it reconsiders superficiality and everyday social lies in a game of masks that boldly forces the conventions of realism, much to the delight of the audience. It all unexpectedly turns into a psychological thriller as the meeting between two characters evolves from a “coup de foudre” into a struggle for dominance that brings out the dark corners of human nature.


A dying young woman has one last wish: to spend a single night with the man who stole her heart. But the expectations each has of the other risk degenerating into an extremely dangerous situation.


Cleverly constructed on a dichotomous narrative structure that contrasts the characters’ two identities, Nevena Nikolova’s short film has the psychological strength and technical accuracy of a David Fincher film. Everything works according to the perfect mechanism of a sleight of hand that is based on the shock of the final revelation, while the director amply proves the insights and qualities of a professional. The divergent and magnetic design that combines the poeticism and melodrama of the first half with the incisiveness of the post-factual confrontation between the protagonists calls into question not only the artificiality of inter-human relationships, but also the means of manipulating the audience by creating a deceptive horizon of expectation. It is a performance that is due to both the director’s intelligence and the total involvement of the actors who deliver two portraits that are as recognizable in appearance as they are unpredictable. ‘L+T’ is definitely the short you need if you’re looking for stories that play with your mind.


For the finesse and incisiveness with which it exposes social hypocrisy while featuring two impeccably executed characters, ‘L+T’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the February 2024 edition of TMFF.