Soft in the Head

Soft in the Head

USA, 2013, 71 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: American Indie, Family Issues, Romance, Social Issues
Program: New Directors Showcase
Language: English

After splitting with her abusive boyfriend, lost soul Natalia crashes friend Hannah’s Orthodox family gathering before drunkenly disappearing onto the streets of New York City. She is befriended by gentle soul Maury, who runs a men’s homeless shelter out of his apartment and invites Natalia to stay. At group dinners, Natalia’s female presence seems to rile the male misfits staying there, though she makes efforts to assimilate. Conservative Hannah insists that Natalia leave the camaraderie she claims to have found at the shelter to stay at her apartment.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s socially awkward brother Nathan, whose parents are pushing him to find the right girl and settle down, mysteriously becomes enamored of Natalia, whose misguided antics seem to be part of her charm. When Nathan’s intentions for Natalia become clear, havoc ensues. The devil-may-care attitude attracting people to Natalia turns out to be her undoing—people want to help her but end up being repelled. Natalia herself remains clueless until real damage is done and the situation is beyond repair.

Director Nathan Silver began Soft in the Head—an ode to lost souls in the big city—as a film adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, and we see threads of the naive Myshkin in Nathan with his compassionate, pitying love of Nastassya, while Nastasya’s self-punishing drive to ruin herself is mirrored in Natalia. After struggling with the finer points of the plot, Silver focused instead on character profiles—the resulting film an intimate portrait of a life being derailed.

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DIRECTOR: Nathan Silver
Producer: Nathan Silver, Lynn Truong
Editor: Cody Stokes, Nathan Silver
Screenwriter: Nathan Silver, Cody Stokes, Kia Davis
Cinematographer: Cody Stokes
Principal Cast: Sheila Etxeberria, Ed Ryan, Melanie J. Scheiner, Carl Kranz, Theodore Bouloukos

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