A young Indian widow moves to the California desert to help run her cousin’s crumbling motel. When she unwittingly gets caught up with the motel’s drifting drug user clientele, however, any hope she had for the American Dream devolves into nightmare.
With high stakes and impressive cinematography, writer-director Jhanvi Motla stealthily drains the optimism of her protagonist, played with a vulnerable righteousness by newcomer Shavya Samala. As streaks of surrealism only amplify the story’s queasy undertones and thriller underbelly, Motla unexpectedly flips the stereotype of the successful American motel run by Indian immigrants.
Mirage was selected for the second annual NALIP Latino Lens: Narrative Short Film Incubator for Women of Color, a program supported by Netflix.