Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Touch: Hand-Crafted Indie
a craftsman works with their hands and an artist works with their hands and
heart, than Tam is a manicure artist.
Brendan is a mechanic and a regular customer. Their business relationship will evolve into the
realm of the ambiguously personal in Minh Duc Nguyen’s Touch (trailer
releases today on DVD from Cinema Libre.
is quiet but she has considerable talent for her work. Despite her reserve, she is reasonably
popular with her co-workers and clients at V.I.P. Nails. Brendan is a special case. One day the sheepish chap walks into the
salon for a deep cleaning of his grease stained hands. Evidently, his increasingly distant white
collar wife has used his grubby paws as an excuse to keep him at arm’s
length. Tam gets the grime out, but that
is just the start of it. Each time
Brendan returns for his regular cleansing, she coaches him on ways to win back
his wife’s affections.
course, the close contact between Tam and Brendan leads to more intense yearnings,
confusing them both. On paper, they
would seem a much better match. Both
work with their hands and are relatively shy, but quietly harbor deep
feelings. Unfortunately, Tam’s efforts
to care for her difficult father monopolizes much of her personal time.
Touch is too
realistically messy to be called a romance, but it taps into some pretty intimate
territory. Yet, it should resonate with
particular force for first and second generation Vietnamese immigrants, who
understand the hardships endured by the older characters during their flight
from the Communist oppression.
Ruby’s work as Brendan is refreshingly mature and down-to-earth, but the film
is truly defined by Porter Lynn’s star-making turn as Tam. She powerfully but sensitively portrays the
young woman’s vulnerability and hidden pain, as well as her sensual side. There is no question this is her film, but Journey from the Fall star Long Nguyen’s
brave performance as her father also has real impact.
Small in scope, it would not take much cutting
to adapt Touch for the legit
stage. Nonetheless, it expresses some
very real emotions, with honesty rather than false sentiment. If only more slice-of-life indies were like
this. An impressive, unassumingly humanistic
film, Touch is recommended for those
who appreciate adult drama. It is now available
on DVD and digital/VOD platforms from Cinema Libre.
Labels: DVD, Porter Lynn