Directed By: Alika Maikau
Distributed by: TBD
Written by Taylor Baker
Alika Maikau’s directorial debut “Every Day in Kaimukī” is a moody melancholy hang-out film about a radio DJ named Naz (Naz Kawakami) who is fed up with life in a small pond. Shot in 1:33:1 the constrained academy ratio frame has a hazy look that lets one almost feel the humidity of Kaimukī through the screen. As Naz plans to step away from small island life and relocate to New York he brings in a student who just moved to the city to take over his nighttime DJ spot. The new DJ is more effervescent, laid back, and positive than Naz, who constantly finds a way to spin any interaction negatively.
Alika Maikau makes a few unassuming choices that cement the emotional relationships and tone of the film such as opening with Naz and his partner sleeping in bed together but not having an interaction for the early portion of the film. Demonstrating their relationships distance and habitual nature long before we ever hear the couple exchange words. The presentation of how much Naz takes for granted and his narcissism also induces a sense of not just tone but character foreshadowing that is uncommon in first-time filmmakers.
Though “Every Day in Kaimukī” isn’t a resounding success it does mark the emergence of an interesting filmmaker who makes distinct choices and attempts to build those choices together into one whole piece of cinema. Its mercurial soundtrack and sincere moments do a lot of heavy lifting.
“Every Day in Kaimukī” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the Sundance Film Festival.
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