When we talk about the art of filmmaking, it relates specifically to independent cinema. The big studios won’t make art because they need to clear $100 million for every movie they produce, and art doesn’t sell! Like a painting, Anthony Vazquez’s feature film, Hommage À L’amour, tells a straightforward story of love but requires you to sit back and watch it as a whole to pull meaning and emotion out of the story.
Theo (Anthony Vazquez) is a young man in love. He has fallen hard, very hard, for Alma (Léa Catania). The two are very much in love, but Theo’s insecurities evolve into jealousy, and Alma’s love and affection for him evaporates. Alma says she needs space and heads home to France, ending the first act.
The balance of Hommage À L’amour focuses on Theo’s life after essentially losing his soulmate. The art comes in how Theo copes or fails to cope with the loss of the only good thing to come into his life. He’s now unable to fulfill his passion as a writer. He feels lost and is distant to his new girlfriend, Naomi (Ashton Solecki).
“…Theo’s insecurities evolve into jealousy, and Alma’s love and affection for him evaporates.”
The primary weakness of the film is that it feels small in scale for a cinematic feature, which is why I’m approaching the movie as art. The story is simple with a single throughline, while larger narratives would build in supporting subplots. By the end, you may be satisfied but feel wanting more.
Hommage À L’amour is writer/director/star Vazquez’s first feature production. Though it sounds like a criticism, it feels like a first feature effort in its overall strengths and weaknesses. The acting is not the greatest, but like any emerging filmmaker, it’s all about getting reps. The more films one makes or appears in, the better one gets. That said, Léa Catania was an excellent get and is mesmerizing.
Its strength comes in the emotion the story conjures. Vazquez and Catania are great together. They have an interesting chemistry as I felt Alma’s love and devotion for Theo, which was intriguingly juxtaposed against Theo’s infatuation and insecurity. In other words, emotionally, Alma was way out of Theo’s league.
Vazquez chooses to show the story’s emotional beats not just through the narrative but through photo album-like memories and music video flashbacks. The use of imagery and music speaks volumes. The theme of letting go in the face of loss has been told countless times in cinema. Vazquez though found in own voice in Hommage À L’amour. If you love indie movies and what to check out new voices, Anthony Vazquez is one to seek out.
"…the use of imagery and music speaks volumes."