With a tapestry this rich in colour, it would be easy to call Jack and Anna a triumph of showmanship. But what’s even more notable about the fourteen minute vignette is how well it portrays two agonizing lead characters for all their passion, strength and humility. Jack and Anna are two well meaning, high-earning socialites stripped of their dignitaries when Jack’s true identity is revealed.
The film cuts from dazzling country shots to the inside of a cold, barren courthouse. Jack, played with excellent resolve, tries fruitlessly to convince a jury why any self-respecting woman would ever pose as a man. The film, though set in 1913, points to a society that would rather celebrate a woman’s beauty than her brain. Director Ksenia Ivanova paints a world where acceptance and belonging only belongs to those accepted few.
And it is art-work that flickers through the luminous film. Capturing Jack at his/her/their lowliest, the pastels echo the pain, anger and humiliation of the situation. An exhilarating intellectual adventure, the film keeps the pulse of the film beating to its devastating final beat.
It’s more than just intellectual; it’s illuminating. It’s a character piece that enters into an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, society has moved a long way from 1913. Sadly, there’s the other, less enticing, hand we feed in 2020.