By Guest Contributor Neelanjana Banerjee
Soon-to-be-made indie film Farah Goes Bang, co-written by Laura Goode and Meera Menon, follows three friends in their twenties–one Persian, one Indian, and one white–who hit the road to campaign for John Kerry in 2004. One of them is also on a quest to lose her long-lingering virginity along the way. The writers describe the film as “a valentine to contemporary feminism, youth in revolt, and the passionate politics of idealism,” but most of all it represents the pair’s common “bottom line” in storytelling, one not very popular in mainstream media today: to represent women in art as women see themselves in life.
Despite their common interests, Meera and Laura hail from very different backgrounds and artistic points of view. A filmmaker born and raised in New Jersey, Meera is a first-generation Indian American of Malayali descent; her father, Vijayan Menon, is a prominent film producer in her family’s home state of Kerala. Laura, a novelist, poet, essayist, and dramatist of primarily Italian and Irish descent, grew up outside Minneapolis, MN; her 2011 young-adult novel Sister Mischief, examines, among other things, this white-dominated suburban setting.
Here they discuss their different approaches to representation and how the script for Farah Goes Bang tries to build bridges, and how you can help make this film a reality.
by Guest Contributor G.D., originally published at PostBourgie
For all its considerable charm and sharpness, there’s a patina of sadness that hangs over Medicine for Melancholy, a new film written and directed by Barry Jenkins that just entered limited theatrical release. The story focuses tightly on a man and a woman (Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins) in the wake of their one-night stand at a party. The initial awkwardness gives way to a tenuous connection, as the two quasi-bohos realize that they share many of the same cultural affinities (which Cenac’s character, Micah, refers to by the shorthand, “indie”). The stuff they like, Micah notes at one point, is decidedly about not being black.
This could all be cute and earnest in the way a lot of mumblecore is — quirky boy meets quirky girl in hip, scenester-ish town — but Melancholy has much bigger questions to ask.
Micah is a preternaturally chill native San Franciscan who feels increasingly alienated as the city rapidly gentrifies. “Imagine the Lower Haight filled with nothing but black folk and white artists,” he tells Jo, his would-be lover, about his long-gone San Fran. (It’s become the least black of America’s major cities.) Jo, wary at first but charming over time, is a transplant who doesn’t see the world in Micah’s specifically racialized terms, and it’s implied by the relative sizes of their living spaces that she occupies a higher position in the economic food chain. Both though, are black people partaking in a social milieu where Negroes are rarities. None of this tension is anywhere near as didactic as it may sound; these issues come up intermittently in the course of the pair walking and biking around, making each other laugh and generally feeling each other out. Continue reading