Review by Bob Greene
Akshata Honnavar, in her short piece, A Story Called Life, found a way to offer us a new take on an age old theme.
This brief interlude shares a day in the life of everyone. Snippets of every everyday existence swathed in lovely background music and well-spoken, well-written poetry.
While this them has certainly been explored, most entries present in a presentational form – allowing camera effects to frame attractive faces who are – like any Sunday New York Times cover story – staring directly into the lens, prompting us to say “oh they’re like me.”
This doesn’t always work.
Akshata Honnavar hands us stories in each face. Not looking at the camera, not all contented, not all pretty, but we meet the world. Some summon sad imagery, other troubling, other whimsical, we meet a true melting pot. The location allows us to imagine “big city” with even the more rural locales inferring a getaway more than a neighborhood. We are placed on a journey of emotions more than people and the poetry, while well-written and spoken, also lends to the same concept. Inferring life can be tragic and joyous – sometimes simultaneously, the story tells us that life is not easily explained as it is all things at the same time. The voice is not a perfect announcer voice but an accented oration. Enough of an accent that – again – we see that everybody means everybody.
Ms. Honnavar ends her piece by having everyone then look directly into the camera. Saving this usual feature for the end, we get the same feeling we would get watching the final sequence of Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria, when the title character – following hardship after hardship – smiles as if to say “oh well, this is the story called life.”
Ms. Honnovar has a promising future as an empathetic filmmaker. Here’s looking forward to more elaborate expressions of her creativity.