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Review: Sasha "touching"

Thu 2 Jun 2011 In: Movies View at NDHA

Sascha Kekez as Sasha Sasha 2010. Germany. 102mins Dir: Dennis Todorovic Starring: Sascha Kekez, Zeljka Preksavec, Yvonne Yung Hee, Predrag Bjelac Sasha has a problem. Actually, he has lots of little problems and two big ones. His dad is a boorish homophobic oaf, his brother is a cynical creep, his mother is a passive-aggressive pressing Sasha to succeed as a pianist, his uncle isn't playing with a full deck, his gal pal has fallen in love with him and his openly gay piano teacher is the most gorgeous man in town. Those are Sasha's little probs. The biggies are that teenage Sasha is totally, touchingly in the closet and he is head over heels in puppylove with his more mature and experienced teacher. You just know it's going to get bad before it gets good. If it gets good. Of course, every romantic comedy infused with a splash of drama and tragedy tends to follow a simple formula... set up the problem, let the lead character or characters fall head first into said problem and watch as they squirm their way out of it towards the hoped-for happy ending. Somehow writer/director Dennis Todorovic takes that predictability and twists and turns it until you are not quite sure what to expect. His actors are uniformly excellent and the almost claustrophobic settings and locations which imprison Sasha with the sources of all his problems are beautifully crafted. It's all terribly eastern European, somehow languid and threatening at the same time, and even the setting in cosmopolitan Cologne doesn't draw the attention away from this dysfunctional family and the gay teen who must try to navigate his way through it. The humour is laconic and gentle and beautifully judged, the clashes of temperament and sense of impeding tragedy are expertly handled. The only downsides at Auckland's Rialto last night were technical... the white subtitles are sometimes nearly lost against pale imagery and the digibeta projection format was not quite up to filling the whole screen without a slightly uncomfortable coarseness. All in all it's definitely worth the price of admission and Wellingtonians have the chance tomorrow (Friday) evening and Tuesday night as the Out Takes Film Festival continues. - Jay Bennie Jay Bennie - 2nd June 2011    

Credit: Jay Bennie

First published: Thursday, 2nd June 2011 - 7:39pm

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