Directed by: Dekel Berenson
Written by: #DekelBerenson
Film Review by: #PhilipGiordano
Anna Movie Review
A heartbreaking short film by Dekel Berenson
Dekel Berenson makes the type of short film many aspiring #filmmakers dream of. A highly successful short that is unique, captivating, heartbreaking, and deeply effective. This Cannes short tells the story of Anna, an aging single middle-aged woman working in a meatpacking plant in war-torn Eastern Ukraine. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. Spoiler: she’s not going to find it there.
For me, everything is perfect in this film. From the subtlety to the effectiveness of the shooting and storytelling to the acting and soundtrack. This is a highly-skilled director.
The opening shot is the inside of a meatpacking plant, where Anna works, which is ironic because she will end up at an awful party with foreign men who will ogle her and see her only as a piece of meat. They say they’re looking for a wife, but are completely devoid of any romance or desire for human connection.
When I was watching this short I was fascinated by the topic and so grateful for such an expert depiction of this world. It has the fascination of an outsider and the authenticity of a local.
Much of director Dekel Berenson’s inspiration comes from years spent travelling: "I became a digital nomad in 2006 before it was a 'thing'. I travelled to 60 or 70 countries. Wherever I went, I took courses. I did a skipper course in Spain, mountaineering in the Himalayas, a North Pole expedition…All my films are inspired by the places I've been to and the people I've met. I spent one month in Ukraine in 2012, while travelling across Europe in a van, which is when I learned about the parties depicted in Anna.”
He continues about the parties where single Ukrainian women meet with US men looking to bring home wives to America: “It’s all a charade, there is no true love here. The men, hoping to take advantage of the women's despair and desire to move abroad, try to seduce them with promises of a possible relationship. The women, pretending to be unaware of the obvious scheme, make promises of their own and scam free drinks, expensive dinners, and gifts from the men…So, each side attempts to take advantage of the other and more often than not fails at it but then returns the next evening for more of the same.”
If you are looking for a skilfully crafted film with a unique story, this short is for you. It is highly decorated (Cannes, Toronto and 60 other film fests) and features an overwhelmingly tragic performance from the title character Anna, played by the talented Svetlana Barandich.