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Connection is almost universally what people desire. Social media, family reunions, dating, all of these are ways to connect with others. Interaction is something that most of us overlook until it is lacking. This only becomes more difficult as we age. The film Look at Me is the tale of one elderly man’s decision to go to great lengths in order to make this connection. Simultaneously endearing and uncomfortable, the story is likely a glimpse into a situation many deal with in their lives but rarely exhibit the courage seen by Everett in his quest to obtain true fullfillment. The connection of this story with an appreciative audience is irrefutable as Look at Me received awards from the Humboldt International Festival, awarded Best International short film at the Foyle Film Festival, and was screened at the Phoenix Film Festival and Ozark foothills Filmfest.

Look at Me centers on the life of Everett, a seventy-four-year old man. He is aware that he is likely in the last years of his existence and wants to make the most out of it. The usual social mores are cast off as Everett seeks to attain that which he desires most, a relationship with others and unexplored experiences. His somewhat eccentric behavior gains the attention and sometimes the disdain of others. When Everett finds an advertisement in the local newspaper that the college art class is looking for nude models, it’s serendipitous.

What the story does quite effectively is juxtapose whether connection should be made by ease of circumstances or the desires of one’s heart. Everett has the need to pursue a connection that engages him in a somewhat unconventional and challenging manner. He lives in a community of people roughly his own age and of the same situation as himself (elderly and retired). Norma, Everett’s neighbor, is an attractive elderly woman who pursues many (more conventional) artistic hobbies. She is vibrant and possesses a different perspective than Everett, and the two have been seeing each other for some time. They complement each other well but Everett desires experiences not so mundane and safe. While he is happy to be with Norma, the relationship doesn’t feed the “edgy” part of him.

Producer Shamola Kharkar enlisted production designer Bhargavi Anganarasu to enable the curt filming schedule and somewhat challenging budgetary constraints. To expedite the process, Bhargavi offered up an unusual idea; prepare in advance and use the same location for different sets seen in the film, most notably in the residences of Everett and Norma. Most viewers have no idea that the dull colors scheme of black, faded green, & brown seen in Everett’s unkempt home were replaced by the red, orange, pink, and blue color palette accompanied by flowery patterns in Norma’s. Shamola Kharkar remarks, “We were very lucky to get Bhargavi Anganarasu for this film. Such a skilled production designer can make everyone’s work much easier, a crucial element in the independent film world. It was Bhargavi’s work that allowed us to create the film we wanted to make.”

In the same way that Everett wants to connect in the film, we are on a similar journey as the viewer. Audience identification with the characters in a story is paramount and what most filmmakers want to achieve. Successful stories invite audience members to participate mentally with the movie's main characters. In the darkness of the theater our sensory receptions are overtaken by a movie's visuals and sound. We find ourselves "in the story" and helping the characters make decisions. We the public are both witnessing Everett and by proxy, becoming him.

Author: Kelly King
THE ELDERLY EXTROVERT OF LOOK AT ME Reviewed by JaamZIN on 9:48:00 AM Rating: 5
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