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Tribeca 2020: “Look at Me” (2020) ★★★★


How hard do we try to help people around us? Do we wait to witness the result or just leave because there is no time for it? What do we need when we see someone in need of help and do little to nothing to help out? Every time when I personally check messages left on social networks, it amazes me how smart, educated, and mostly rude users pretend they care and see things around, but when it comes to real life, they’re as blind as they could get.

 Set in New York City on a winter night, a young man, after being heavily intoxicated, heads towards the subway station. On his way, he unintentionally meets three individuals who will determine his faith. One is a woman, a so-called social media activist, the other is a first-generation American who is always in a rush, and finally, the train that is about to welcome one of them. It all starts with the friend who loudly says that an Uber rating was much more important than ensuring if the person he just had fun with at the club can make home alive or not.

It all starts with a young woman running on a subway station. She is late to catch her train. She notices a man sitting on the stairs looking down with white fluid coming out of his mouth. She also notices another woman sitting on the bench, angrily creating a post on Facebook telling someone, “You will never be able to look up to see the things for what they really are.” In the meantime, the young adult continues to look down. He can breathe but cannot respond. To be fair, she tried to communicate with him but to no avail. She dials 911, reports the incident, but fails to remain on the scene to ensure the man is still fine.

Then, we are taken back to learn about how did our unfortunate hero end up on the subway in the first place, which was, in a way, heartbreaking. But as lives intersect with one another, some of them will have to live with the selfish choice they made. Indeed, Nika Fehmiu’s superb “Look at Me” has a lot to offer within a short amount of time, but it’s enough to reconsider what we are, who we are, and who we want to become after seeing this intense, thought-provoking and intelligently executed short. Because it may have been set in New York and talking about American culture but in reality what is being described in the film happens all over the world. And this is just one instance among many we must learn from to stop it happening again.

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