Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sundance with Abe: A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.

I’m thrilled to be attending and covering the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the fifth time. I’m seeing as many movies as I can each day and will post reviews of each as I can.

A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.
Directed by Qasim Basir

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has had quite an effect on the world of film and television. As actors take to the stage during awards shows to make political statements and endless references to how the world we see today is looking more and more like many dystopias that have been portrayed in cinema for years, there are also more straightforward, direct approaches to how that fateful night felt for ordinary people just going about their lives and watching the election returns take a surprising and irreversible turn.

Cass (Omari Hardwick) works as a club promoter in Los Angeles, recognized by friends as the maker of an inspiring student film at USC, and isn’t able to focus on his night out going from party to party thanks to the depressing text updates he keeps getting about the latest polls closing. He does allow himself another distraction in the form of Frida (Meagan Good), who he meets on the street and invites to join them. Their conversations take unpredictable turns as their locations change throughout the night and they form an unexpectedly close bond.

The backdrop of Trump’s election is merely a way of setting the stage for the world as it exists, with both Cass and Frida approaching it in different ways. Cass made something of great meaning to people, yet he’s lost some of that optimistic spirit, caught in a dead-end job and barely in control of his life. Frida has it together but doesn’t seem all that content either, and she’s the driving force at a party where everyone is glued in misery to the TV who suggests that they turn it off to live in the moment before things change incontrovertibly.

Director Qasim Basir and stars Omari Hardwick and Meagan good discuss the film

Hardwick and Good work marvelously together on screen, both delivering vulnerable, realistic performances perfectly in keeping with the film’s naturalistic style. The film’s single continuous take is wildly impressive, and it’s easy to get drawn in to the feeling and magic of the moment, which finds Cass and Frida talking about things that people rarely discuss on first dates and getting to the heart of what it means to stand for something. Director Qasim Basir’s film is an ambitious meditation, one that tries – and succeeds to a degree – to speak for all those who felt their lives change that night, offering few answers but proposing one scenario in which things might turn out okay.


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