Thursday, May 22, 2008
SIFF 2008 Favorite: Mermaid
Mermaid screens at the 34th Seattle International Film Festival on Saturday May 24, 1:15pm @ The Egyptian, and Monday May 26, 9pm @ Pacific Place. You can buy tix online here.
From the whimsical opening credits through the gorgeously colored dream sequences, this visually stunning modern fairy tale draws you in.
Six year old Alisa Titova has an active imagination, spending hours in her sleepy seaside shack dreaming of being a ballerina and rushing out to meet arriving ships of servicemen in hopes that the father she's never met will be among them. Her charm and enthusiasm are undeniable, but the most unusual thing about Alisa is that she has the ability to control weather and grant wishes - at a high cost.
After her family's house burns down, Alisa decides to remain silent forever, and we pick up her story again when she is 17 years old. Opportunity for a new life strikes in the form of a hurricane, and the family moves to the big city of Moscow. Love with a stranger named Sasha sparks her ability to communicate, but everything is not as it seems. Alisa's purpose in life is much grander than she realizes.
Director Anna Melikman deftly applies an uplifting spin to the multiple tragedies that occur, and both actresses (Anastasia Dontsova as the 6-year-old and Mariya Shalayeva as the 17 year old) bring Alisa to adorable, brightly shining life. Comparisons to Amelie are inevitable, but this brilliant Russian film firmly stands out on its own.