31 January 2013
Movie Review: Sasha
Sasha (played by Sascha Kekez) is a budding pianist who lives with his Montenegrin parents and brother who run a little Montenegrin pub somewhere in Cologne, Germany. We are invited to get some understanding of how difficult it is to be a Balkan in Western Europe (I think various characters refer to Sasha and his family as Serbian and Macedonian) and the border crossing back into Germany was done well. In any event, Sasha has a huge crush on his piano teacher Gebhard.
When Sasha and his dysfunctional Montenegrin family return from their holiday, Gebhard informs him that he's been offered an appointment in Vienna that just escalates everything. I mean, I identified with Sasha in the feeling tone. Sascha Kekez did such a convincing acting job that it was hard not to feel like that awkward teenager with a crush on someone of the family-decided wrong gender!
Sasha's best friend Jiao who apparently has a crush on Sasha and has been in denial about his gay status is also liked by Sasha's brother. As the pressure builds, it gets more and more intense until it all explodes on that cinematic, synchronistic final day in the narrative.
Sasha's struggle reminds me of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the young Samoan guy who maintained an meaningful emotional and romantic relationship with Manti Te'o apparently through the persona of a non-existent woman. Of course, Sasha does not go to such incredible lengths for what he wants. He definitely struggles with the conflict between his family and community expectations for him (exacerbated by being an ethnic minority in a xenophobic country) and his own true individuality.