Review by James Lindorf
Writer and Director Marcus Markou’s Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times embraces the tough topical issues of racism and poverty. The film has been selected for numerous high-profile film festivals and won many awards and stars Laurence Spellman (Ready Player One), Sargon Yelda (Spectre), Dimitri Andreas (Tyrant) and Alistair Cameron (Silent Witness).
Alistair and Samir meet five different times over the course of 60+ years, even though the film is a brief 12 minutes. The first meeting we see finds Samir (Yelda) going about his business getting cash from an ATM. Behind him is Alistair (Spellman), who after huffing and puffing about how long Samir is taking, decides to insult Samir’s perceived race and religion. The film goes on to show 4 more meetings that are impactful to the characters’ lives, but vague enough that details are hard to come by when they meet again years later.
Markou’s script is all about compassion and caring for others, in spite of their race, religion or financial status. His ideas, however, are too big for the constraints of the running time, and I was left wanting more. The five meetings allow for their story to be somewhat cyclical, but if it had been limited to four meetings, we would have been able to see more of their transformation.
Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times is a well shot, well-acted, thought-provoking, lovely short story. Maybe getting the audience to engage actively and think about what the characters have and may have gone through was the point, but when something is this well done, you can’t help but want more.
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