“Ann” – Atlanta Film Festival Review (3 Stars of 5)

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From the mind of Venezuelan director Carla Forte, Ann is a trippy and beautifully intimate experimental film. Starring only two characters (three if you count the lovable dog, Pancho), Ann follows a sculptor named Ruben (Jose Manuel Dominguez) who’s almost completely detached himself from reality in an effort to cope with the mundanity in his actual life.

Ann, his wife, desperately tries to connect with him through conversations but struggles to actually snap him out of his apparent daze. Ann, who is played by Carlos Antonio Leon, is transgender. However Ann’s sexuality is irrelevant to the story being told and the film handles it in a refreshingly bold manner by not addressing it at all. Forte wanted to portray Ann and Ruben as being a normal relatable couple having true, genuine arguments.

Largely filmed as intimate conversations between the arguing couple, the film is claustrophobic. Really the only time we ever cut away from our two leads is to showcase some gorgeous high frame rate slow-motion shots. In the vein of Melancholia, Forte displays stunning imageries as if we’re watching a painting slowly and creepily come to life.

These cut-aways provide a look into the imagination of Ruben. The world he’s created for himself is beautiful in a way his normal life can never be. Dominguez and Leon bring a certain amount of authenticity and truth to their performances that grab you from the start. Juxtaposed with surreal cinematography, the naturalistic conversations between Ann and Ruben have a sense of heightened urgency.

Ann, which originally gained funding through Indie Go-Go and was made on a shoestring budget is a notably bold effort from Forte and reason enough to keep an eye out for what she does next.

3 out of 5 stars

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