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“On Your Way” Review - Directed by Eva Tanoni

The film "On Your Way" starts smoothly and pleasantly; in an extreme aerial long shot, we follow a car driving in a vast landscape, with the sounds of birds and soft piano music in the background. The movie immediately introduces one of its main characters, the driver of this car; a young girl who is first seen in the car's mirror. She is visibly irritated by her dead phone battery and having to refuel the car tank, apparently having had plans with someone who may now be left behind. This tension and anxiety of the woman contrasts with the soothing music and tranquil atmosphere surrounding her. From the beginning, the filmmaker tries to engage us in the critical situation of the film through this contrast. It is worth noting that if the film's music were filled with anxiety, stress, and fear like the woman's character, and without the contrast we wouldn't experience the suspense we are feeling now. While Rose is stressed and anxious, a car approaches Rose and she asks for help.

The driver, a young man named Angelo, has some gas in his car and comes to Rose's aid. The screenplay advances its story without wasting time or protracting scenes and situations, easily introducing the characters to the audience. The actors' performances also help us believe in the situation and gradually get closer to these characters. The attractiveness of the screenplay lies in choosing a simple situation but expanding it with interesting experiences. Angelo, who fills Rose's car tank, now encounters a problem himself when he realizes his car battery is not working. The paths of these two characters collide completely accidentally in the middle of nowhere, and events unfold one after another so quickly that this collision is not resolved soon. They are forced to stay in Rose's car until someone arrives to fix Angelo's car. Being stuck in that nature devoid of any living creature, being trapped in the confined environment of the car, opens up other issues for the screenplay. So far, we have learned that Rose is a painter, and the paintings she carries with her testify to her being an artist. Apparently, Angelo also admires Rose's paintings, as he references them twice.

From the very beginning of the film, we see small airplanes passing close to Rose's car several times. Showing these airplanes each time has almost a different meaning. The first few times it seems to emphasize moving, going, and reaching a destination, a symbol of rushing and being late for a meeting that she’s missing. But since Angelo's presence is revealed, showing these airplanes turns into a kind of longing for freedom, for flying, for breaking out of the cycle of interviews and striving to reach the appointment. The director of the movie, Eva Tanoni, even shows Rose's car from above for the first time, a point of view (POV) that could be from one of those airplanes. Later on, we only see the airplanes, and after Angelo gets into Rose's car, it is Rose herself who sees the airplanes. Did losing the rush to reach the appointment allow her to take a proper look at her surroundings?

On one hand, in the screenplay written by Eva Tanoni and Amina Muhibi, the characters gradually reveal themselves. At first, we see Rose as a calm woman caught in a bizarre situation, striving to reach an interview. However, as she interacts with Angelo, we realize the nervous and aggressive side of her character. On the other, it seems like her character not only lacks much interest in establishing connections but also tries to hide a part of her identity (which is exemplified by her reluctance to talk about the paintings). Angelo's character also differs from what we initially thought as we get to know him. Initially, we see him as a calm and composed person who wants to quickly help the girl start her car so he can go on his way, but once he steps into the girl's car, we feel that he is not as polite and composed as we thought. Especially when in the midst of that dire situation, he decides to eat potato chips joyfully.

Director Eva Tanoni

When we reach the middle of the film, we get to know the girl's character much better. We guess that she is one of those people who have lived their whole lives according to rules and have pursued dreams that were handed down from their families, and perhaps success in her work is more important to her than anything else. Maybe for this reason, when she realizes the boy's car battery is dead, she hesitates to help him, while the boy had just moments ago been willing to stop to help her. This willingness to help each other can give us clues about the nature of both characters. The boy stops to help the girl, even though he knows that if he turns off his car there is a possibility of running into trouble with its battery, but the girl is not willing to help him. The boy has a free and liberated personality, a freedom and liberation that the airplanes also constantly remind us of, while on the contrary, the girl's path is clear, the boy does not envision a path for himself in life. He has freed himself from the constraints and bindings of the path and way.

The paintings that the filmmaker placed in the girl's car from the beginning, act like that famous gun in stories that must play a role in the story until the end and create a stronger bond between these two individuals. The girl and the boy become closer to each other through these paintings and express their inner thoughts. The success of the film lies in this well-thought-out screenplay and the actors' believable performances that effectively reflect their doubts, worries, hopes, and desires in their acting.

The ending of the movie, which we do not spoil in this review, shows how a concept that has been explored in various ways in different films and series can be creatively approached and remain fresh. How the main character decides to take a different path in the middle of the road, what’s on her mind, are the main subject of this film, and it feels like we are watching inside the girl's mind for fifteen minutes.

"On Your Way" is an interesting and calculated work that progresses step by step to bring the airplanes and characters to an acceptable climax. We must wait for this filmmaker's next work.


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