Greetings from the Underground!
With so much content at a click of a button, it can be easy for a movie lover to stick to one or two familiar genres. I think it is important to occasionally watch something that may not be in your wheelhouse. Something that is completely different from the movies you have on your shelf. That is exactly what I did when I agreed to watch Director Sujewa Ekanayake’s The Secret Society for Slow Romance.
The Secret Society for Slow Romance is about two indie filmmakers, Rene and Allyson, who slowly develop a romantic relationship while making plans for a project that could make the world a better place. There are no explosions, psychedelic visuals or big twists. It is merely a window into the lives of two creative people making a connection while living in New York during a pandemic. To say the film is very chill is an understatement. The tone stays upbeat and positive, though it is set during one of the most trying times of our lives. There are no dramatic episodes or heated arguments between Rene and Allyson. Instead, all of their conversations involve their passion for filmmaking and, as things progress, intimate details about themselves.
Allyson is played by Alia Lorae who is definitely the more expressive of the two. I loved her performance. She gets very animated during her conversations with Rene. The expressions on her face and tone of her voice help drive home her passion for creating art. This animation is a good thing because Rene, played by Sujewa, is far more reserved. Stiff even. The beat of these discussions almost have the feeling of verbal versions of back and forth chat messages. It is during these dates where there is a subtle dynamic change in their relationship. When they first meet, Rene feels more like a mentor to Allyson. He is her sounding board for her ideas. After multiple meetings both seem to open up to one another and get more personal. Very personal. By the end of the film, Rene seems to be the one who is presenting ideas and Allyson is the sounding board. During all of which their passion for each other becomes larger and larger. If you don’t like “talky” movies, this one may not be the one for you but if human interaction is your thing, you will find a lot going on in these scenes.
Interspersed throughout the film are shots of New York City. The style of these shots seem to change as our couple changes. First we are seeing closer, sometimes very shaky shots of the city streets and the people on them. As things progress, we begin to see wider, more stable shots of the city, as if more of the world is opening up as Rene and Allyson open up to each other. The music complemented these city shots, helping solidify the idea that the City itself was a character in the film. Then again, I could just be making a lake out of a puddle.
The Secret Society for Slow Romance is not going to be for everyone, but it is not trying to be.
Sujewa Ekanayake gives us a DIY style film that is a window into our current reality with a pinch of fanciful charm. Showing us that there are just as many, if not more, positive things happening in the world as there are negative. A welcome reminder during these challenging times. The Secret Society for Slow Romance will be out in 2022.