Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Andy Scott Harris, Anna Lodej, Katie Johann
Jonada Joshari
21 Mins.

 "The Stone on the Shore" Premiered at Philly's First Glance Film Festival 
Add to favorites

The graduate thesis of Chapman University film student Jonada Joshari, The Stone on the Shore recently had its world premiere at Philly's First Glance Film Festival where it picked up a prize for "Breakout Performance" by young Andy Scott Harris. Indeed, Harris is simply mesmerizing as Henry, a young man who moves in with his aunt following the death of his mother and finds himself so swallowed up in grief that he rejects all affection and tosses aside his passion for the piano.

The Stone on the Shore is a meditative and deeply heartfelt film, a film that says as much in its silence as it does with the spoken word. D.P. Yousef Linjawi bathes the film in warmth while capturing faces in a way that is intimate without ever becoming invasive. At a mere 21 minutes in length, the film's ability to envelope the viewer with universal feelings while developing a complete story is a testimony to the insightful and intelligent dialogue of Joshari. This is Joshari's first film, a rather amazing fact given the film's near perfect pacing and patience with its characters. It takes a gifted director to be willing to simply sit and allow scenes to linger, but Joshari does so in such a way that the film's sparse yet meaningful dialogue washes over you in waves.

In addition to Harris's mesmerizing performance, Anna Lodej gives an equally remarkable performance as Aunt Theresa. Lodej avoids any hint of cliche' in her performance and manages to exude remarkable warmth, humanity and, as well, her own grief. There is one scene, in particular, that brings to mind the masterful French film Ponette, one of the best films ever to examine the grief of a child. This scene involves an interacting between Lodej's Theresa and Harris's Henry, and the result is simply outstanding cinema.

Katie Johann, as well, shines as Henry's mother, by beautifully portraying the maternal bond without all the histrionics we so often find when a character is dealing with terminal illness.

The Stone on the Shore is currently on the film festival circuit and should have absolutely no problem finding a home on the indie fest circuit where its strong performances and emotionally resonant themes will register powerfully with festival crowds. If you get a chance, most assuredly check it out.

- Richard Propes
The Independent Critic