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Flower Boy Short Film Review

★★★★★

Directed by: Anya Chirkova

Written by: Anya Chirkova

Starring: Maziyar Khatam, Andrea Pavlovic, David Richard

 

What are movies but a collection of moving images? These moving images can show us a heist thriller, a haunted mansion, a blooming romance, and a traumatic drama. They act as a transportation machine, taking us to places without moving our muscles physically. As we are generally carried to the confines of a fictional setting, it’s then only natural to be taken aback by movies that manage to show a page out of your own life with utmost intimacy. Anya Chirkova’s Flower Boy is precisely that movie. Tinted with the color of nostalgic yellow, watching it feels like revisiting an old memory. Chirkova has not made a film but captured personal feelings.


Nav (Maziyar Khatam) loves music. He is a teenager figuring out what to do with his life, what course to apply for, and where to go with his music. His path is not as clear and planned out as Sarah (Andrea Pavlovic), a painter who knows exactly where to go for her studies and what to pursue (she has taken up visual arts). The two used to be in the same school, but the romance between them develops when one day she just breaks into his swimming pool. She invites him to come on a trip. To make cash for it, Nav takes up a job as an employee for a laser tag owner named Frank (David Richard).


We find out that Frank used to play drums. He had studied music and wanted to be “a part of a big jazz band.” This dream, however, dissipated with his age. The older he got, the less fun he found in the music. Add to that the sense of settlement, the safe income, and the comfort that came with being a tag owner. Frank found serenity in his job and lifestyle. His aspirations could have very well been a product of teenage verve and overexcited hormones.


One of the most striking aspects of Flower Boy is that when the characters talk, it doesn’t seem as if they are repeating a memorized dialogue. Instead, they speak from experience and emote with convincing honesty. When Sarah gets selected at her desired institution, Nav looks at her with a poignant face mourning their eventual geographical separation. The conversation between Nav and Frank as they sit and talk to each other is filled with inward expressions. This is a film where everyone mostly lives in the past or the future. Your mind is rarely in the present. You might be drinking coffee and also thinking about an assignment you have to submit on a deadline. As Frank plays drums, Nav recalls the day he spent with Sarah at the beach, which is conveyed with the sound of waves that continues from the “beach scene” to this “drum-playing scene.”


Flower Boy ends on a crossroad with Nav promising Sarah that he will "be there" while the visual shows him enjoying the company of Frank. Will he follow his dream like Sarah or end up within the safe confines like Frank? Flower Boy is not about the answers but the exploration of various emotions. It’s evocative, not definitive. This is personal filmmaking at its finest, and I wish more people would get the chance to see it.


 

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