The Yellow Handkerchief

Director: Udayan Prasad
Screenwriters: Erin Dignam

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival


One lazy afternoon in a backwater Louisiana town, Martine takes a leap into an unfamiliar convertible. The driver, Gordy, an awkward young itinerant who eyed her in the diner earlier, isn’t displeased to find this pretty sylph in his front seat. Soon they meet Brett, a laconic, humble man just released from prison. Martine isn’t keen on going solo with Gordy, and now it’s raining cats and dogs, so she invites Brett along, and the unlikely trio sets out, each person unsure of the destination. What ensues is a journey through the lush green byways of rural Louisiana and into the depths of these characters’ souls.

Naturally the strangers are suspicious of each other, but each passing mile gives them chances to prove their trustworthiness. As they tell personal stories, the sense of danger dissolves, and the narrative threads of their past gradually engender mutual appreciation and delicately interwoven fates. As they roll into New Orleans, the powerful secrets Brett uncoils steers the makeshift family toward profound love and second chances.

Udayan Prasad’s astute insight into outsider experience, combined with William Hurt’s brilliantly restrained performance, gives The Yellow Handkerchief wrenching emotional authenticity. Prasad and his visionary team of Academy Award winners—producer Arthur Cohn, cinematographer Chris Menges, and Hurt—have created a timeless, deeply humanistic film about staying the course and letting people in.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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