Tuesday, December 10, 2013

AIFF 2013: Why You Should See Hank And Asha Tonight at 6:30pm

I've seen three strong features so far.  De Nieuwe Wereld (The New World), Detroit Unleaded, and Hank and Asha.  The first two I've discussed already at the links.  Both are solid films, well made, on 'relevant' topics (asylum seekers in Holland and Arab Americans as normal people.)

But Hank and Asha pulled me right in and kept me there the whole movie.  Maybe I liked it more than the other two because it has more sugar in it, but I think it's more than a comfort film.  The two key actors are wonderful.  These are people I couldn't help but like reaching out into the world.  We need a new word for the format.  It's epistolary, but instead of letters, we see the selfie videos traded by two strangers (at first), a young man in New York and a young Indian woman studying film in Prague.

This online relationship unfolds as we see the progression of videos in which they share their cities, their apartments, dinners and picnics, fears, and hopes. There's nothing  even PG 13 in the whole film.  It's sweet.  The actors - Mahira Kakkar and Andrew Pastides - are perfect in their parts.  I didn't see actors, I saw two people video taping messages to a stranger who might possibly become more - someone they each could talk to about their dreams and fears.

It plays again tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 10) at the Alaska Experience Theater at 6:30.

You can see a trailer on their website.

This is an original film on an idea that I'm guessing is playing out all around the world:   Using the internet to meet new people you would never meet otherwise.  And yes, there is a serious obstacle to this budding relationship.

I talked to James Duff and Julia Morrison, who together wrote, produced, and directed the film, after the showing.   We talked about the film in general, the Bollywood dance scene, music rights, and the pros and cons of micro-budget films.

And then we talked a little more and I had to turn the video back on when James told me the timeline for shooting the movie. It makes the actors' performances, and the script writing and editing all the more remarkable. It isn't uncommon for movies to shoot scenes out of sequence. But it's less common for the two lead actors who carry most of the movie to not ever meet until after the movie was finished.

 My sound card ran out of memory and so we stopped.

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