I would like to dedicate this to my lovely friend Carrie. While that may not be the most conventional way to start a review, ten seconds into this film just brimmed with the jovial dual cultural spirit that my adoring friend Carrie has. Though, understandably people are always different, the combined heritage of British and Filipino does brim in her. So in this delightful and humorous Balsa Wood, the understanding of reaching out to distant relatives and keeping in touch with your roots is one that people I know will engage terrifically with.
Starring the brilliant Jessica Henwick and Doctor Who’s recent Dr. Chang Andrew Leung, it centres on a loving family and two mixed race siblings who are taken to their distant Filipino relatives. Caught between two nationalities and two heritages, Scotty is forced to confront her own identity as she feels like an outcast in her own family. Sweet and charming, Balsa Wood is a wonderful little short that help you connect with your blood-line.
Directed by Dominique Lecchi and supported by backers thanks to Kickstarter, this is a rather endearing short film that encapsulates the clash between distant relatives and the new generations. Whilst not explicitly showing the turmoil as Scotty explores a new part of her family, Henwick and the writing allow it to bubble underneath and thus enthuse this delicate charisma to it. With wit, both visual and through the impressively realistic dialogue between the family members, especially Scotty and her brother Ted. There is a true heart with intellect behind this that Lecchi gloriously writes. Alongside this, she enhances the tale with this gorgeous countryside setting and phenomenal cinematography that drenches it in colourful sunshine.
Though it may seem slow, it is paced delectably with gentle comedy and humanity. Basla Wood is a magnificent and intriguing little short with a warming end, beating down in the sleep countryside. With strong acting, intense spirit and a glorious aesthetic. This is a superb charmer.
While the film is unavailable, it is making the way around film festivals. Here’s an interview with the director though!