One of the opportunities provided by GLBT film festivals like Outfest is a bit of risk taking on foreign films whose actors, directors, writers, and even settings are completely um, er, foreign. You pay, you go, you hope for the best. And one of the joys of festivals like Outfest comes when those risks pay off in spades. Exhibit A: Dennis Todorovic’s Sasha, from Germany.
Sasha (the smoldering Sascha Kekez), and his family of refugees from Montenegro, live in Cologne, over the pub they run, with typically strained family dynamics. Dad is set in his old-country ways, Mom is fighting for her closeted son’s chance at a better life through his piano studies, while younger son, Boki and lazy Uncle Pero serve as comedic foils. The plot hinges on Sasha’s crush on his piano teacher whose imminent departure is the stone in the water sending ripples throughout the family. But plot isn’t the point here. Sasha’s strength comes from subtle direction, dry humor and brilliant ensemble acting from the entire cast, who bring pathos, great depth and comedic genius to this gem of a film. To call Sasha a coming out movie would be accurate but also an oversimplification. It’s a fantastic piece of storytelling that both proves and justifies the imperative of Outfest.
Sasha screens on Tuesday, July 13 and Sunday, July 18 at Outfest. Call 213-480-7065 or visit Outfest.org for tickets. And be sure to check out the amazing silent auction items at outfest.org/auction.
-- EDDIE SHAPIRO
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