Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Flare: Young Love, Old Love

One of the best films I've seen in the high school canon is the Israeli film, Barash (dir Michal Vinik), featuring a trio of teenaged girls who roam the streets of their town, bunking off school and smoking various substances. Then a new girl, Dana, turns up and they let her join their gang. The titular character, Naama Barash (everyone goes by surnames), falls hard for the newcomer, attracted by her brash attitude and partially shaven hair. What really stands out for me are the minutiae of Naama's existence, her exasperation with her parents' squabbles, her detachment from her older sister, who is in the army and her infatuation with the mysterious Dana, who represents something else: freedom, non-conformity and sexual allure. How it all unwinds is interesting, but the camerawork is exquisite, the performances captivating and the dialogue quite witty. Naama and Dana checking out their schoolmates and vowing to offer their services to sexually enlighten them is marvellously bold.

The course of love doesn't run smooth in the Israeli short Words Unsaid, as best mates Danny and May get a little too close on the former's hen night and need to renegotiate their relationship. I found it disconcerting as the lead actresses so closely resemble Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths from Muriel's Wedding, which is quite funny. Watching hetero pre-wedding rituals is enlightening, but the film goes a bit melodramatic for me.

As a tonic, one could try out the US short Partners, in which a lesbian couple enacts a full cycle of dysfunctionality in six minutes, waking up, arguing over sex and bringing up untold historical baggage before heading out for a juice. Laugh out loud funny.

And just to show you are never too old to find love, there is the Spanish short, The Orchid, one of this year's Five Films for Freedom, in which an elderly man attempts to get through to his son in Berlin to share his big news. A big "Awwwwww!" is in order. This film is available to watch online through 27 March.

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