Review English

Cinestaan Curates: Bloom captures the headiness of falling in love during the lockdown

Release Date: 19 May 2021 / 36min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Richard Anthony’s directorial debut is a charming film that captures the coming together of two people.

Just as the world seemed to turn topsy-turvy during the lockdown, director Richard Anthony’s Bloom begins with an upside-down view of the world, where the blue sky is imagined as the garden of Eden, a biblical paradise that succeeded the act of the creation of the world. Drawing a connection between a paradise and the themes of isolation, love and temptation, the short film explores a blooming relationship in the unlikeliest of times.

The film is set in Chennai during the lockdown. We see Ashwin (Ashwin Raam), a DJ, frustrated by the lack of work and watching his money for past work trickling in in dribs and drabs. Seeking a creative channel for his energy, he does a solo performance on the rooftop. He connects with Mitra (Mitra Visvesh), a graphic designer, and the two of them hit it off. With similar interests, they slowly find out about each other, flirting and stalking each other on social media. But soon, the real world beckons, asking Mitra to decide between staying and leaving for her home when the opportunity arrives.

Richard’s film is a curious narrative of millennials finding ways to connect amidst a pandemic and it beautifully captures the heady feeling of making a connection with someone. Ensconced in their own world, Mitra and Ashwin find each other and a relationship starts to bloom. The film ably captures the sense of abandon that youth brings and the cinematography captures their soaring emotions as texts are splashed across the sky, as they lie back and bask in the flirtation. Freedom, creative expression, companionship are themes that resonate in the film along with temptation, and loneliness. 

The performances of Ashwin Raam and Mitra Visvesh are natural and their characters are ably portrayed. With minimal dialogues, emphasis on texts and social media as the primary mode of communication between the two; we are witness to how digital technology is a boon as well as a curse in some ways, enabling an intimacy that may not be so hurried in the real world. Mitra throws caution to the winds and does something in the heat of the moment, regretting it immediately after.

Although the pandemic looms large in the film, its use functions more as a way of exploring our digitally entwined lives. We see the characters doing household chores and experimenting with recipes, Ashwin grumbling about his payment coming in the form of liquor bottles. But as the urban upper class, we don’t see their comfortable lives being affected by the pandemic in any significant way. Ashwin even tries to shut out the news and real-life problems by choosing to lose himself in watching movies.

Richard's directorial debut is a charming film that captures a natural coming together of two people, where digital media enables their romance but also offers temptation in this version of the garden of Eden.


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