Val Lauren, Alicia Minshew, Gulshan Grover
James Kicklighter, Rajesh Rathi
Solila Parida, John Howbrook, Mark Ezra Stokes, James Kicklighter, Prasanna K. Pati (based upon short story by)
"Desires of the Heart" an Ambitious, Involving Film
Winner of Best Foreign Film at the LA Femme Film Festival, Desires of the Heart centers around a psychiatrist, Kris Sharma (Val Lauren) who meets an artist named Madeline (Alicia Minshew) right before he is to move from Savannah, Georgia to Seattle to open a practice. While the timing isn't really right to begin a relationship, fate will do what fate will do and the two establish a connection that is undeniable and rich. Then, the unexpected happens and Kris is summoned back to India by his family to a woman to whom he was promised by his parents.
Filmed in both Georgia and India, Desires of the Heart is a beautiful and involving film featuring two fine performances by its leads who are tasked with bringing to life a film that is both intelligent and fantastic, no small task. Desires of the Heart challenges both heart and mind with a story that is culturally grounded, somewhat mystical in nature, and yet psychologically insightful. I will confess that there are times when I find these types of films, especially when cast with impossibly attractive people, to be detached and unrealistic. In this case, it works.
There are many different threads to Desires of the Heart, some might argue too many, but it's a film that will likely resonate with different people for different reasons. From individuality to culture, from reincarnation to living in the now, and even further this becomes a story that on some level attempts to unspool the many different things that are in play as our lives unfold.
Tim Gill's lensing is simply beautiful, capturing both Georgia and India locales with luscious clarity. Gwen Taylor's costuming captures both the culturally relevant aspects of the film and the intimate and universal natures of the characters. If I have a concern with the film, it's that the script feels like it doesn't always keep up with itself but, alternately, that's also what helps tie the many different layers together.
So, on some weird level it all works.
Desires of the Heart continues on the film festival circuit.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic