Maya possessed many of the distinctive facets from Mia Hansen-Løve’s previous features (Goodbye First Love, Eden, Things to Come, etc.) – protagonists facing existential crises upon emotionally wrenching experiences, passionate vocations that define their life’s choices, quietly transformative effects of love, delicate and low-key approach, captivating use of music, etc. And yet, this was a striking a departure too – the infusion of overt political elements into the narrative, being largely set outside her comfort zone of bourgeois Paris, bilingual script – and these made it both an undeniably interesting addition to her impressive oeuvre and bit of a misguided affair at times. Gabriel (Roman Kolinka) is a war correspondent who’s just got released, along with a colleague (Alex Descas), after being held hostage in Syria. Though he starts taking tentative steps in resuming his life by getting together with his friends and re-initiating his relationship with a lovely former girlfriend (Judith Chemla), he eventually decides to take a sabbatical and shifts base to the lush Indian coastal state of Goa – where he’d lived as a kid – to get over his emotional emptiness. There he befriends Maya (Aarshi Banerjee), the aimless teenage daughter of a wealthy hotelier who also happens to be Gabriel’s godfather; as the two stroll around on their scooters and on foot, they start getting intimate. He goes on random travels across India too – to Calcutta, Jaipur and Bombay where he meets his estranged mother after many years. The conversations in English felt stilted at times, while the political comments were tad awkward too; however, the excellent initial sections in Paris, the affecting kinship between the two lost souls, and the lazy melancholy made this a soothing work nevertheless.
Director: Mia Hansen-Love
Genre: Drama/Romantic Drama/Existentialist Drama