Review by Bob Greene
Roy Shellef’s film ALONE imagined the world if Covid had won. It’s simplistic message was more tenet than any big budgeted horror film. Akshata Honnovar’s LIFE IN COVID does the total and polar opposite.
Her short film is a sandwich of joy, misery and joy-sort-of.
It begins close to home. What we would imagine being her and her fellow film students preparing for their lives as filmmakers. A montage of rehearsal, pre-post-production, filming, parties, pranks, and more sets a joyous tone before handing us the world in lock-down. While we are all intimately acquainted with the new-but hopefully temporary – reality, it is that much more jarring to see it juxtaposed with busy prosperous life. Finally we are brought back to life and living at the end.
It is all in the imagery and editing that makes this work stand taller than others like it. We see this from “backstage’ as it is the life of filmmakers that is being shared. Painful images of hazmat suits and coroner trucks join other images of people forced to go home or stay at work when that could have been a death sentence. To hear commentary by a cab driver one imagines thoughts in his head of whether it is wiser to die from the disease or poverty. The finale offers hope but rational hope. We see joyous events like birthdays and graduations – on zoom; movies being made – six feet apart in masks; and even an ironic image of a man in a hazmat suit saying “see you later.”
One can find Akshata’s work on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9OIbQaG0ynvue7vjtGwJNw
and look for a clever horror genre piece called Stay with Me if you’d like a quick and pungent scare.