a film by Dennis Todorovic
2010 | 102 mins | Germany
›› Sasha - Saša
an irresistible take on the coming out scenario.
Sasha by Dennis Todorovic Refreshingly told from an immigrant perspective, this multicultural work from writer and director Dennis Todorovic takes a variant look at the coming out process, one that and as so often is built upon solid coming-of-age foundations.

Not that Sasha is out to anyone yet, as a return journey to Cologne from a family holiday in their birth land of Montenegro, is set to witness. A promising pianist with a career in music seemingly ahead of him, his days when not practicing for a forthcoming audition, are spent with his close friend Jiao; an aspiring violinist who much to her regret comes to know where Sasha's heart truly lies. And put it this way, it's not with the piano concertos of Beethoven or Mozart. Rather in lies with time spent with his handsome tutor Gebhard Weber; namely the object of Sasha's sweet gay crush. Yet when Gebhard informs his love-struck pupil that he is about to leave for a prodigious teaching assignment in Vienna, a heartbroken Sasha is forced to face the music in more than ways, than one.

Sasha by Dennis Todorovic With solid production values throughout, this spirited tale successfully walks the celluloid tightrope of comedy drama, opting for many a light hearted moment, before building up to its cinematic crescendo in true dramatic, if slightly melodramatic fashion. Sure, a number of scenes are telegraphed in advance, you'll know them when you see them, but the principal characters are well defined, with the emotional intensity of a mother all too eager for her son to succeed, counterbalanced by a father more interested in his son's relationship with the beautiful Jiao, a situation that wonderfully gives way to acts of fraternal jealousy courtesy of Sasha's brother Boki having the hots for Jiao, only for Sasha to have no option but to continue his sexual masquerade, in light of a homophobic father.

That the raging emotions of an adolescent heart are ever present, goes without saying. Yet in between, Todorovic builds a strong sense of Montenegrin machismo, of parents living their dreams through their offspring and of a father clearly ill-at-ease with the liberal outlook of city life. The result is a film ingrained with yearnings for love and acceptance and the shattered hearts of life that can often be found alongside, with Saša Kekez achingly conveying the pains of a young man desperately trying to be his true self in the face of what others expect of him, even if Predja Bjelac's Jekyll and Hyde persona dominates many a sequence; smiling one moment, lashing out with his hands the next. And to his credit Todorovic goes out of his way to tie all the loose ends of the plot up neatly, let alone having his boy get down to some passionate man-on-man lip-service, all of which makes for a somewhat quirky, if irresistible take on the coming out scenario. Simply heartwarming.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue 30.January.2012 / UK.
screened as part of the 25th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2011.
starring: Saša Kekez / Sasha, Predja Bjelac / Vlado; Sasha's Father, Tim Bergmann / Gebhard Weber,
Zeljka Preksavec / Stanka; Sasha's Mother, Ljubisa Grujcic / Pero; Sasha's Uncle,
Jasin Mjumjunov / Boki; Sasha's Brother and Yvonne Yung Hee as Jiao.
Copyright 2012 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #457
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