Covidrama Flourishes In Netflix’s Homemade Quickies

Homemade(Netflix, Anthology of  17 ShortFilms)

Rating: ** ½

  The pandemic  has given rise to  lockdown films  all  over the world. In India  we’ve seen films as diverse  in mood and  language as C U Soon in Malayalam and Neha Dhupia’s  recent short  film Step Up in Hindi . In-between there  were the anthologies Paava Kadhaigal in Tamil  and  Unpaused in Hindi.

 All these left  us with mixed films. Netflix’s Homemade  featuring  just what the title promises—homemade quirky quickies shot entirely  on home equipment ,mostly  phones—is promising but finally uninspired . The  ambling  array  of stories   left me confused. Some  seemed way too casual. Other  stories appear to be  excessively self-conscious of  the task on-hand to  shoot  a  film manifesting the  director’s  inner  feeling of  desolation isolation and desperation  during the lockdown.

 The  themes range from reverie to hallucination. In fact the only really normal  story  was the one told  by Gurinder Chadha  about her twin children  and  husband in London lockdown about  loss and pranking, brooding and  gallivanting.  It’s  fun to watch. It’s  real. Gurinder’s children are  not acting.

Neither is  the  little girl  in Nadine Labaki and  Khalid  Mouzanar’s  Mayroun & The Unicorn, which is my favourite  piece(can’t call it a  story)  in the anthology.Here a little girl , locked in a room during lockdown  , invents her own fairytale  about captivity and  rescue. I hope that little  girl in this  story  grows  up to be  an actress. She  is a  natural born  camera  chameleon.

 On  the  other hand  another film with a  little girl as  the central character in Natalia Beristáin Espacios  turns the  girl’s  story into a kind of survival melodrama which is really very strange because her mother is filming her child. In  another story Casino  a quarantined   man(Sebastian Schipper) gradually  starts  losing his  mind, seeing and befriending his own double and his double’e double. This  is the only story that takes on the theme of psychological wreckage  during the  lockdown.

 In another story  Penelope  a  man  coping with the near-extinction  of the  population because of the  pandemic tries to survive. The gradual  breakdown and replacement of a toaster is  an effective metaphor for  domestic desolation.

One  of my  favourite actresses Kristen Stewart tries to  keep her  mind  from cracking up after  many sleepless nights during lockdown. While she does  capture the monstrous  monotony  of  the  londown Kristen can’t keep  the  story from  getting monotonous.

There are  very few perky  engaging stories in  this collection. Most  of them had no business being made. Not when the mind had gone on  freeze.

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