Lana’s Rain

| February 12, 2004

During and following the Balkan Wars of the 1990’s, various types of war criminals and low level mobsters escaped to countries in Western Europe fleeing either the authorities or their enemies. Some even found their way to America, hiding out on the back streets of large cities while taking on new identities. Many more innocent people came to America dreaming of a better life and a fresh start away from all the horrors they had witnessed.
Out of this turmoil, comes the story of Darko Lucev and his sister Lana. Darko, a criminal on the run, finds illegal transport to America and offers to take his sister Lana with him, who is alone in the world and clinging to the only family she has left, not knowing what lies ahead for her thousands of miles away from home.
The Census Bureau recently reported that the foreign born population of the United States as of March 2003 is estimated at 33,000,000, up from 9,600,000 in 1970. The latest numbers indicate that one in every ten U.S. residents are now immigrants. Countless others enter America illegally for any number of reasons hoping to either escape from their past or grab a piece of the American Dream.
“When we get settled, I want to learn English…make new friends…even get a job.” Lana’s hopes are simple ones, but the transition to her new life in America is fraught with danger and deception, brought on by her brother Darko who has his own plans on how to survive in their new country. As the film is told in flashback from Lana’s perspective, the story of Lana’s Rain unfolds against an impersonal city of Chicago, dwarfed by impervious skyscrapers, a perfect city where it’s easy for outsiders to get lost on the back streets of the sprawling city, mingling in with other forgotten people found on the fringes of the city…the lonely, the unemployed, the homeless, the prostitutes, the drug addicts. After they roam the streets of Chicago for awhile, the brother and sister find a room in a dingy transient hotel, quickly learning about the underside of American life.
“You’re the only family I have left” Darko knows only one way of life and is willing to drag even his own sister down with him as he tries to stay two steps ahead of his pursuers. He thinks nothing of exploiting her innocence and takes full advantage of her blind trust and vulnerability. Only when his true intentions become known, does Lana begin to realize she has to find a way to take control of her own life, even if it is at the expense of her brother.
“There is no home, all there is, is you and me.” After her dreams of a peaceful new life in America are shattered by the grim realities of her new existence with Darko, Lana begins plotting a way out. Before that is able to happen, both their lives begin to careen out of control as the web of danger closes in on them. As Darko’s true character is exposed, Lana is forced to decide her own destiny, realizing she will still remain an illegal outsider, a stranger in a strange land.
“Lana’s Rain” is a fever dream of a movie, which tackles with headlong energy a combustible mixture of social realism and gritty film noir. The sprawling independent production filmed in 78 locations, including the opening scenes shot in Croatia and ones in Gary, Indiana and Baltimore, Maryland, where Darko and Lana enter America on a freighter. The majority of the film is set in Chicago and shot on numerous locations on the streets of Chicago, in a period when many movies are set in Chicago but actually filmed elsewhere.
Sam Fuller was once asked to define a movie…he said, “Well, a film is like a battleground…love, hate, action, death, in one word, emotions.” This is Lana’s Rain.

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