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MAYA (2018, FRANCE) – 6.5/10

Gabriel (Roman Kolinka) is a 30-year-old French reporter who has just been released from the captivity of Islamist terrorists in Syria after four months. For him and his colleague Fred (Alex Descas), family and friends managed to raise ransoms since the French government is not officially negotiating with the terrorists, and they return home to Paris with mixed feelings because their third colleague is still captured. Gabriel feels somewhat empty, dull after such an unimaginable experience that involved terrible torture and fear that he cannot share with anyone because he believes that no one can understand it. This is why Gabriel realizes that he can no longer live his old life and he decides to go to India where he lived as a child, and his family has a house in the well-known province of Goa.

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There he will meet 17-year-old Maya, the daughter of his godfather Monty, whom he has not seen since he was a child and who owns the hotel there. Maya will also be a kind of guide through India for Gabriel, and Gabriel will then head to Mumbai, where his mother, who left him when he was a child, still lives. The time spent in India will prove to be a time in which Gabriel will get to know himself again, realize who he really is, and almost not even realize it, and he will fall in love with a young Indian woman. But it will be more of one of those platonic relationships. Mia Hansen-Love shot this unusual drama in a naturalistic style and as much as she could, she used all the exoticism of India, its people and landscapes.

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From beginning to end, Gabriel is a complete mystery. A closed guy who is obviously completely traumatized by the experiences he survived and who is trying to figure out what and how to move on with life. To continue doing the work that actually brought him to a situation where he was almost beheaded, which happened to many of his colleagues, or to try to find some new passion and interest in life. Watching this film, India proved to be a more than perfect place for rehabilitation and trying to find some spiritual and inner balance again, but the story at the beginning still promised something more than what was delivered in the end.

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