Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Slamdance - Hank and Asha - 3 1/2 stars

Hank (Andrew Pastides) had a movie play at a film festival in Prague.  He wasn't able to attend, so Asha (Mahira Kakkar) emails him a video.  The video is of her, asking him a question about his movie.  He replies with a video of his own, and an online friendship is born.

Hank is living in New York City and working as a production assistant on a reality show.  Asha is from India but living in Prague attending film school.  Each one is surprised to find that the other person is younger (and more attractive) than each had imagined.

This movie is a real pleasant discovery.  The movie consists of the videos each character made for the other, which means neither actor is on screen together at the same time.  At first, the videos are simply the characters talking directly to the camera.  They are addressing each other, but this puts the audience right in the middle of the action, as the actors are speaking directly to us.

As the movie progresses, the videos get more elaborate.  They take their cameras outside to show the other person their city, school / job, and stuff like that.  What starts as a pen pal - type of friendship starts to develop into a flirtatious relationship.  There is talk of meeting in Paris ...

Both actors are very good in their roles, but Mahira Kakkar is particularly good.  She has a sweetness and vulnerability that comes across so well on screen, and there is an innocent quality there as well.  I really got into the story of these two, and I was hoping they would end up together.  I was more invested in their story than any other on screen romance I have seen in a long time.  Highly recommended.

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