Covering the Brooklyn Film Festival last year for the Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts, I stumbled upon a rare gem of a movie, Hank and Asha. It’s showing at indieScreen here in Williamsburg May 9-15 here and you should see it.
Here’s what I had to say about the three films I saw with it last June and I’ve pulled out my review of Hank and Asha here:
I was most apprehensive about the feature film Hank and Asha, by husband and wife directing and editing team James E. Duff and Julia Morrison. The synopsis sounded contrived: “In this modern love story, an Indian woman studying in Prague and a young New York filmmaker begin an unconventional correspondence—two strangers searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world.” UGH! I honestly did NOT want to like this film.
I didn’t either … I loved it.
Yes, the story is super hokey, but that fact is very quickly erased by the talents of everyone involved. In particular, director Duff, the cinematographer Bianca Buti, editor Morrison and the performers, this film is a true testament to the definition of collaboration.
Andrew Pastides plays Hank, a marginally privileged millennial living in New York, who receives a video message from Asha, played by Mahira Kakkar. She saw a film of his and they begin a back and forth courtship dance, via video messages.
Even though Asha is in Prague and Hank is in New York, their video courtship unfolds like any other, full of flirting and innocence. It reminded me of what that dance is like before the complexity of sex creeps in. Both Pastides and Kakkar completely embody their characters and truly shine.
Mahira Kakkar is fantastic and a real gem to watch as her Asha grows more and more interested in Hank. She plays cute and coy perfectly, as almost every girl does in those early stages of courtship. Kakkar also has that truly rare acting gift of being able to express so much by saying so little.
Andrew Pastides quickly makes you realize that Hank is not just another marginally privileged millennial, he’s just another guy trying to figure it all out. He’s exceptionally charming and particularly shines in a Bollywood tribute to Risky Business, it’s a moment in the film that every guy watching probably finds hitting a little too close to home.
Perhaps that is what makes Hank and Asha so likable, the simple way it charms the viewer into so easily identifying with both characters.
Hank and Asha set up a date to meet in Paris, face to face. Sadly, cultural differences ultimately prevent them from meeting (that would be a pretty big spoiler). Oh, and speaking of Paris, Hank and Asha is a wonderful millennial tribute to the Generation X story of unrequited love, Before Sunrise. As that movie begat a trilogy, is the same in store for Hank and Asha? I hope so.
It’s the simplicity of Hank and Asha that makes it so damn delightful to watch. Making something appear that simple is a true testament to collaborative creativity and it’s what makes this movie so awesome.
While I remain unclear where the cockles of any one person reside, this movie is sure to find yours.
You should go see Hank and Asha and warm them.
Hank and Asha at indieScreen
285 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
May 9, 10 at 7pm
May 11 at 5pm
May 12 at 7pm
May 13 at 9pm
May 14, 15 at 7pm