By Roger Costa
An accomplished portrait of a gay male existential crisis, Israeli writer-director Yuval Hadadi’s feature debut is an absorbing, stunning look at modern relationships. Through the exceptional love triangle story of a wealthy and healthy man, his pregnant artist friend and his long-time partner, Hadadi crafted an electrifying urban tale. He brilliantly undresses his protagonist presenting all details of his complexity: Yoav is haunted by his family’s past, while delving into his own insecurities on aging and loneliness; his observations on the daily routine, family values and settlement standards become cruel and mean, gradually scaring off any manifestation of love and care. When his 15 anniversary plans start to fall in pieces, he sees a chance to consider drastic changes. An acclaimed selection at NewFest, and named Best Film at both Chicago and Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festivals, it’s a seductive and well done existentialist tale.
(Breaking Glass Pictures. 4/28 on VOD.)
An emerging comedic force, Will Dennis stars in this uplifting rom-com which he also wrote and directed. Utterly irreverent, authentic and convincingly funny, he joins a hipster partner for a road trip in order to save each other’s financial dreams. He is willing to sale his van in order to invest on his ice-cream delivery app, while she must collect the cash to rescue her uncle’s pizza shop. Both of them are hiding important facts: he is interested in reconnecting to his ex-girlfriend, while she maintains a lucrative sex-cam operation and looks for inspirational jokes to write. Shot in a free-style atmosphere, transmitting a contagiously affecting vibe, delivering organic, accurate dialogue and social commentaries, Dennis confirms himself as a promising filmmaker and newcomer actress Kelsea Bauman is ready for stardom.
(Gravitas Ventures. 4/28 on VOD.)
A great dramatic surprise, award-winning director Hilary Brougher’s SXSW Grand Jury Award nominee, follows the emotional troubles of a family caught up on the consequences of a marital affair. When the patriarch announces he’s having a baby with a younger woman, the women of the house (his wife and daughters) collapse in despair and look for a way out of the situation. But Lila is feeling vulnerable and fragile, especially as she’s the real victim, the wife who was abandoned and exchanged, while trying to keep control of the house, protect her ill neighbor and her children. Talia Balsam gives a ravishing performance as Lila, a remarkable portrait of desperation and hopelessness, as well as early signals of madness. Brougher conducts the material with extreme sensibility, candor and honesty. Undoubtedly one of this year’s best films.
(Breaking Glass Pictures. 5/5 on VOD and DVD.)