© X-Verleih/Warner Bros.

Das gelbe Segel (The Yellow Handkerchief)
U.S.A. 2008

Opening 19 Nov 2009

Directed by: Udayan Prasad
Writing credits: Pete Hamill, Erin Dignam
Principal actors: William Hurt, Maria Bello, Kristen Stewart, Eddie Redmayne, Emmanuel Cohn

How can you not like anything that stars William Hurt? In this small road movie, he is Brett Hanson, a past-middle-aged man who walks out of prison after serving six years for manslaughter. It was an accident, which we learn later. Nobody is there to greet him, and he makes his way into town alone where he drinks a beer and observes the people. At the ferry crossing, he climbs into an old convertible driven by young Gordy (Eddie Redmayne). The third passenger is 15-year-old Martine (Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame). They drive through Louisiana and gradually become better acquainted, each slowly revealing parts of their personalities and gaining trust for each other. Brett sends his former girlfriend May (Maria Bello) a post card asking her to hoist a yellow hanky on her ship if she still loves him. Brett, full of doubts and self-assurance, can think of many reasons why she will not comply, but we know better; we know all about the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree if you still love me.”

With just four actors, Indian-British director Udayan Rrasad tells a whole story of both adolescent and grown-up insecurity, acceptance, and maturity. This is the type of film I would expect to see at any film festival – in fact this one did show at Sundance. The actors are worth your time, not only Hurt, of course, but Kristen Stewart shows that she is more than just a teenager pining for a vampire. Most interesting is Eddie Redmayne, who is only two years into the film business. Born and raised in London, he convinces as a young nerd who claims to belong to a Native American tribe. The photography of fields, bayous and the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, the country store, the rain storms, and the old white wooden church add to the viewing pleasure and make the film authentic. (Becky Tan)

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