Tuesday, 15 March 2016

REVIEW - NEXT TO HER (ASAF KORMAN)


A marvellous drama, suffused with deep sensitivity and performed with great skill. Next to Her may have little to say as a feature, but it provides a lot to comment upon, not least the quality of the filmmaking from all principal players. The film is fiction, but expressed with a level of detail and intimate understanding that betrays its true nature as truth - lead actor Liron Ben-Shlush based her screenplay on her own experiences, and the result is this challenging, likely cathartic expression of hard-hitting emotion. In emphasising the judgemental attitudes harboured by its characters, even at their most discriminating, and in even encouraging a similar stance in its audience, Next to Her reaps considerable rewards in revealing such prejudgements as unreliable; this is an acutely compassionate film, and Ben-Shlush's screenplay is a perfect example of how emotional perceptiveness can elevate even the most timeworn scenarios. Her partner, Asaf Korman, directs with appropriate restraint, allowing the intensity of the drama to emerge naturally, and indulging in the occasional mild stylistic flourish to make it more palatable. A narrative revelation toward the end requires such a careful touch - with the focus gently placed upon each character's individual reactions to situations, as opposed to their actions, a complete emotional picture is painted, and thus each of these situations feels authentic, no matter what they contain. This is a remarkable piece of work from a most promising group of artists.