'Two And A Half Hours'
- Directed by Hossein Rajabinejad -
What is love if not the willingness to do anything in your power in order to help the ones you love, even if the feeling will never be reciprocated? Especially when love was never shown back in the first place. These are the themes which accompany Daria’s two and a half hour stop visit to her native Bucharest, before catching a flight back to her home in Milano. She heads straight to the hospital, where elderly father, suffering from Leukaemia, is undergoing a surgery. The woman enquires about his state with much sadness before donating plasma in the hope of aiding his recovery, actions which slowly but steadily showcase the difficult relationship between the two – her father had never loved her.
Daria struggles with an affliction of her own, which is not immediately apparent, but is subtly hinted at during a number of key scenes. Herein lies the refinement of the presentation: ideas are not forced in, but are gently introduced and developed in just the right amounts. It is chiefly because of this, coupled with the final turnaround point that would establish a completely different outlook on Daria’s character during a second viewing of ‘Two and a Half Hours’.
Actress Loredana Cosovanu portrays the troubled, guilt-ridden Daria with much finesse, thus giving life to a very layered character even in the limited timeframe of roughly thirteen minutes. Despite sporting a very visible ‘souvenir’ of her past unhappy times, she does whatever she can for her father, while denying herself the credit, and even blaming herself when things outside her control span go wrong: the transfusion, and even her father’s lack of love – deep inside, she blames her condition for this. The almost Murphy’s Law-ish effect that transpires from Daria’s statement that planes are likely to be late when you’re in a hurry is also reflected in the result of the blood transfusion.
When not interacting with other characters, Daria is involved in moments of quiet contemplation, which set the meditative, thoughtful tone of the film. There is a subtle difference between the two key scenes where this occurs: the first is in the car, on the way to the hospital, where she sees her reflection in the window; the lapsing streets of the city in the background, on a secondary plain – a beautifully shot moment which is riddled with metaphoric meaning. In the second such moment, she only sees her own reflection back in the hospital’s bathroom mirror, which subsequently prompts an important process of character development, which makes her change her outlook on life and approach her recently discovered step-sister with a proposal, the similarity between the two binding them towards a bittersweet ending.
The thoroughly professional and expressive acting, the beautifully shot scenes and the attention to detail in both imagery and content all work together in a harmonious fashion, and guarantee the success of the project at hand. ‘Two and a Half Hours’, as its concept and title suggest, represent a short interval, but one during which much is learned and pondered. We highly recommend this beautiful film!