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Dina – An unlikely lesson in love
An unconventional romantic tale, this documentary follows 48 year-old widow, Dina Buno, as she plans her low-key wedding to her younger boyfriend Scott Bevin. As if that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, Dina also has the relationship goal of moving Scott into her tiny apartment. In Scott’s defence, he still lives with his parents so the challenging transition adds to Dina’s mounting frustration, brought on by his apparent lack of interest in sex.
It comes as no surprise that the film, directed by Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles, has been awarded the Sundance Grand Jury Documentary Prize. The documentary celebrates all that is weird and wonderful about the seemingly odd Dina and Scott and their equally eccentric family and friends. In reality, Dina has Aspergers, anxiety and OCD and Scott is autistic. As Dina’s Mum put it, “she’s a smorgasbord!”
There’s not much to see by way of cinematography, there are no breathtaking horizons, landscapes and striking colours. The documentary’s singular focus is on the characters. The film is shot in cinéma vérité style – although there are no shaky cameras in this polished piece – which serves to enhance its realness to an unnerving degree. A very pleasant surprise is the cool 80s soundtrack, with tunes by the likes Michael Jackson (Day and Night), Marcia Griffiths (Electric Slide) and Bryan Adams (I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You).
I couldn’t help but make comparisons with the UK’s Channel 4 documentary series ‘The Undateables’ which follows people who struggle to find love due to living with a disability or learning difficulties. Dina was an uncomfortable watch for me, I felt like a reluctant fly-on-the-wall, bearing witness to the awkwardness between two socially inept individuals trying to navigate their way around their relationship. Perhaps my experience was exactly what the filmmakers were aiming for and that can only be a good thing right? Love is not a one size fits all phenomenon. Dina taught me that there is someone out there for everyone and love, even in its purest form, is complicated!