Anna: Halli’s Take

Review: Anna

Anna: Review. By Halli Burton.

It comes as no surprise that Dekel Berenson’s short film, Anna, is being developed into a feature.  It’s full of promise and characters with backstories begging to be told.

Take Anna for instance (played by Svetlana Alekseevna Barandich), a cuddly middle-aged single mum, who looks older than her 45 years, and works in a meat shop in war-ravaged Ukraine. She clocks in, works hard, clocks out then goes home to her teenage daughter Alina (Anastasia Vyazovskaya) who barely looks up from her phone.

Then there’s the redneck Texan man, who’s in Ukraine looking for love. Their paths cross after she throws caution to the wind and responds to a radio advertisement urging women to sign up to attend a party where they can meet American men. What follows is nothing short of tragic yet wonderfully comical, a testament to Berenson’s brilliant storytelling. It’s worth noting here that Anna was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

With an existence so monotonous and dull you can’t blame Anna for trying her luck, but judging by the much younger women also attending the party, the chances of meeting someone who could change her life were, unlike her, very slim. Yet, in complete contrast to her slow and sluggish movements at work, Anna throws down some rhythmic moves on the dancefloor. Is there more to this old-ish woman than meets the eye?

ANNA – Cannes Official Selection – trailer – Dir. Dekel Berenson [2019] from Dekel Berenson on Vimeo.

The exchange between the Texan and Anna is hilarious, thanks to the creative and hilarious translations of an interpreter.  What is clear is that their romantic goals are completely out of sync. Anna wants companionship and the Texan wants to get physical and ‘look under the hood’ before he takes her back to America.

It turns out that it’s not just her who dreams of a brighter future, as she bumps into a familiar face at the party.

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