There’s absolutely no doubt that we’re all looking forward to the time during we can seeing friends again, party like never before and take public transportation without fear. You might look at those socially involved moments with a lot of desire but you probably didn’t notice that those moments involve more social distance than you realize. We look more to our screens at people and live in our bubble that no one can enter, probably not even when our or their lives depended on it. That’s what the short film “Look At Me” from writer/director/producer/editor Nika Fehmiu in an eye-opening and real-life looking way.
Just as many New Yorkers, the young protagonist (who has no name but who’s beautifully performed by Hadley Robinson) takes the subway to get through the Big Apple. Packed with her yoga mat, she’s waiting for the D train when she’s noticing a young man (portrayed wonderfully by Connor Vasile) who’s not doing well. Not moving, drooling and not responding to her words. After much hesitation, our woman decides to call 911 who are assuring her that they will be on their way to help the man in need. While she wants to wait for them to arrive, she also wants to take the train that’s arriving on the platform. The doors open, she enters and she puts her music on. Will she eventually decide to step out of the carriage and keep the man company or not after all? Well, what happens will show us that we certainly need to pay more attention and more care to the people we meet, whether they’re friends, family members or just random people.
This debut movie from Fehmiu will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and while the festival sadly has to adapt itself to the Coronavirus, this movie will be screened as part of the online film festival. That’s such a blessing for the audience and filmmakers because this is a film that the world needs to see, especially during times in which social contact and connection with people become more important than ever.
Mostly, it’s because of the extremely crucial message the movie sends us. While we don’t want to admit it, we feel more comfortable with our screens and talking online than looking people into the eyes and connecting with them. However, this movie shows us that it’s from vital importance to stop, breath and take care of the people around us. Looking up, taking a brief pause from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter might save someone’s life.
Another reason why you see this stunning debut is the acting performances of the leading characters. You might have seen Robinson (“Fosse/Verdon”, “Violets Are Blue”) in “Little Women” recently and just as in the movie, she’s putting on emotional and excellent acting. She makes us feel like we would feel in that same situation. Wanting to help the man but don’t want to interfere and stopping for this stranger but also continuing with our own lives. We might not see much from Vasile (“Boogiemen”, “Wallace”) until the end of this movie, his performance still captivates and touches us enormously.
It’s not only Fehmiu who makes her debut with this film. Also for cinematographer Wayland Bell is this the first movie. His work gives this movie a unique and authentic vibe it needs. The captivating cinematography heightens the importance of the messages even more.
“Look At Me” is certainly a movie you have to put on your to-watch list. Not only because new filmmakers and upcoming actors need all the support they can get but also because it’s an important, authentic and beautifully made movie.
Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Writer, Just Celebrity Magazine