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Wire & Cloth (2024)

-Written by Michelle Vorob.


2024 INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES REVIEW!


Wire & Cloth is a short film about a mother-daughter relationship, seen from the point of view of a young Anika (Samsara Leela Yett) in the 1990s and narrated by a grown Anika (Monica Lee).


Hema (Devika Bhise), Anika's mother, seems to suffer from untreated depression and anxiety disorder, which creates a separation between them. Anika wishes her mother could be more like the sitcom parents she watches on TV; outwardly loving, attentive, and in a good mood. Unrealistic as sitcom family dynamics tend to be, it's also not normal for a child to bear the burden of a parent's illness, struggles, or shortcomings, but we know that's not uncommon in real life. 


Anika tries to be the cheerful, loving, helpful daughter, but it never calms her mother, nor does it gain her mother's affection. Hema is wrapped up in her own problems and also has dreams of social climbing. 


This is the starting point for Wire & Cloth; a stay-at-home mom with an emotional disorder, who wants to be a career woman and improve her social standing, all being observed by a daughter who is desperate for her mother's love and affection.


Hema has befriended a successful, upper-class woman, Radha (Rebecca Hazlewood), who has arranged a job interview for Hema [to be a secretary]. Radha is also going away briefly and has asked Hema to feed her fish. Ramesh (Samrat Chakrabarti), Anika's dad, tells his wife [Hema] he doesn't want her traveling around the city and using public transportation. He wants her to stay home, where it's safe. Hema is determined to go to her interview. They continue to talk indistinctly, while a grown Anika remarks that she never saw affection between her parents and she wondered about their relationship. 


We then see Anika and Hema arrive at Radha's home to feed the fish. It's clearly an upscale home; large, bright, and modern feeling. Anika finds herself in a bedroom, trying on clothes and shoes in front of a mirror. Hema finds Anika and tells her to take those things off, because they aren't hers, but Hema also starts trying on clothes and shoes. Soon, both mother and daughter lose themselves in the dress-up, in the fantasy. Interestingly, during this time, Hema is attentive and present with Anika, affectionate, calm. She is essentially a different person than at home. 


Anika wonders if the clothes, make-up, and nicer home is what makes people happy and content with their lives. She wonders if she would have the mother she wants if they had a home like this. It's hard not to wonder that, even as the viewer, but it's the security [sometimes even perceived security] that comes with a better social standing. It's human nature to think the grass is always greener on the other side, however, it is true that a better social standing can open doors that are unattainable to outsiders.


Wire & Cloth jolts Anika and Hema back to reality at the end, through a series of unfortunate events, including Radha and her husband, Sunil (Ajay Naidu) finding their home in disarray, with Anika and Hema still dressed up in their belongings. Wire & Cloth explores a mother-daughter relationship, touches on familial and other relationships, and how social status can influence our expectations and perception of love & affection.


Written and directed by Swetha Regunathan.


Starring Samsara Leela Yett, Devika Bhise, Rebecca Hazlewood, Samrat Chakrabarti, Ajay Naidu, etc. 


8.5/10 = WORTH RENTING OR BUYING


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