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March 24, 2013

Movie Review: Hemel (2012, Artsploitation Films)

Reviewed By: John Beutler

A strange thing happened, on route to my critique on this very sexually charged and compelling character study...wrought from an exploitively intimate and carnal genre, which I had little direct exposure to, despite my embrace of just about all other facets of the exploitation genres. Sort of headlong into uncharted territory, so to speak, going into this film...though surprising, pleasantly quite affecting and thought-provoking. Despite my able-readied ability, I found myself hard-pressed to wretch an immediate review of Hemel from my mind...not so much in finding the words to express. Indeed, the words were there, but they were rampantly disjointed in my head, as it took longer than norm, to process the film, both mentally and emotionally...trying to relate to the subject matter...applicable words and phases swimming attempt to join those trying to blindly mate mismatched find the connections, and the sense in those connections, amidst the unconventional and intimate character interactions, which I had just been privy of. 

Later that evening, I spoke to a fellow associate of mine, regarding Hemel... explaining the carnal nuances of the plot... an inner-lonely woman who hides an underlining desire for intimacy, despite a number of forgettably by-the-way and coldly disregarded sexual couplings with a wide spectrum of men, with their own individual nuances, as far as the old song says, '...looking for love, in all the wrong places'...a woman clearly in search of something, which she cannot seem to itch, which she cannot scratch.

Her only intimate relationship is her father, who himself is trying to find stable emotional solace and attachment with someone (...albeit, with a series of women, substantially younger than he, in a suspected attempt to grasp hold of some semblance of vibrant youth), only to be constantly thwarted by his daughter's jealousy...the irony being that she, at least at an unconscious level, believes that she might find the level of intimacy she's looking for, in her father, but cannot, clearly due to the 'forbidden' ramifications. 

Now, what finally got me primed on my observations of this film, is that when I explained all of this to my associate confidant, his response was, " Most women are like that." Taken aback at his response, it actually, in a weird way, put things into perspective, generation-wise...given my seasoned age, and subsequent experience with women, versus the 'everyman' 20-something I was eliciting a response from, and THIS got me motivated and primed on what to say here. As equally captivated and fascinated as I was, with the protagonist of the film, I could not help but be quite put off at the sexual coldness of the character, a feeling which eventually led to a pathos level of pity and sympathy, as she proves even more desolate and lonely, as events progressed and culminated in the film. 

Hannah Hoakstra gives a captivating performance as Hemel...a character I very much wanted to know more about, but much like the character's emotionally repellent inclinations toward her lovers, I was repelled from knowing more...making the character all the more alluringly captivating, mysterious and irresistible. 

Given that this was my first exposure to this facet of genre, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, and look forward to future productions...both by star Hannah Hoakstra, and of the director of the film, Sasha Polak. Bravo, I say....."

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