Directed by: Isadora Verrissimo
Written by: Isadora Verrissimo
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Opening with a woman learning how to speak, I wondered what road Ha:Na was planning to walk down. I hadn't read the description as is often the case, with the hopes the film itself would be all the description needed. Hana ( Christin Muuli ) is not your everyday woman and for some reason seems to see everything as a child. She dances carefree and explores the textures of her life with a curiosity that would be strange to all but the youngest of us. Does she suffer some form of PTSD or mental illness? The answers are given right from the start and throughout the title in flashes, but at first, it's hard to be sure. Hana is an android, a robot designed to look and act human.
Not much is revealed about her inner workings, or how her electronic brain works, but we're under the impression that just like us, Hana learns and grows. She doesn't just mimic life but lives it making us ask one thing. Is she alive? Although she was built how different is she from us? One could argue that we are a construction of people. The difference is that we are built in the womb but how different is that really? A construction is a construction and anything that becomes self aware is life? Is it not?
The second aspect of this title is the reason why she was built. Hana lives in this world as a replacement for another woman. Her owner, Ezra ( Peter Moffatt ) has decided that the two should try and remain low key, due in part to a discussion that adds some backstory to this title. Hana hears this discussion and it's implied this triggers her curiosity and eventual "expansion" at the end of this film. Again, we're left to wonder if this is the right thing to do? Is any of it. We're left to understand Ezra's reasons for wanting Hana, but that doesn't do anything for the moral questions.
The looks and sounds of this title felt a little subdued most of the time for me. A grimy look at life except for a couple of shots involving Hana. It's all very bleak and subdues and I expect that was on purpose. It did work in the sense that the brighter shots really stood out. But considering the story, some interest leveling up would have gone a long way. Christin Muuli's performance was an unexpected pleasure, pulsing Ha:Na a few degrees higher on the interesting scale. Nothing overly dramatic, but a leveled realistic approach to the story.
Could we, will we, should we? These seem to be the basic story threads here. A little added on top in the form of Hana's reasons for existing and the occasional freaky image. (I'm talking about you black liquid on the legs) Ha:Na is not unique in story nor in execution, but still managed to hold my eyes on the screen. As a micro budget title, I was smiling ear to ear simply because I could actually watch it; something tough sometimes with micro budget titles. My smile only broadened at the end when I realized I actually enjoyed it. Isadora Verrissimo has produced a good and entertaining title, Ha:Na is a winner.