Melodrama / Random / Melbourne!
Celina Yuen, Bridget O’Brien, Rachel E. Zuasola, Gregory Pakis
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Effort, vivacious colours and zaniness are there, albeit inconsistently
An unusual pink hue is one of the shades that Melbourne is seen through in Melodrama / Random / Melbourne!, the film by VCA alum and emerging Australian-Fillipino director Mathew Victor Pastor.
Melodrama / Random / Melbourne! is the second part in the up-and-coming practitioner’s Filipino-Australian trilogy following I am JUPITER I am the BIGGEST PLANET (15 mins) – a thriller about a mother in the red light district of the Philippines.
Co-written and starring Celina Yuen, MRM! screened at the 2018 Adelaide Film Festival, and follows various disparate characters around the metropolitan Melbourne melting pot.
In this vast milieu, we are introduced to an assortment of personalities: amongst them a Filipino-Australian feminist documentarian, a pickup artist, and a virgin – all of whom are disparate characters removed from each other; all trying to go about their lives and all crossing paths.
It is a lens we nary see through, especially in Australian films. The perspective of those living on the margins and fringes, who never would have met each other.
The narrative is told by filmmaker Aries Santos (Bridget O’Brien), who is struggling to complete her new film.
In this mix, sheaths of pink, red and various others are just a few of the colours employed in Pastor’s movie.
As various individuals tussle and interlace – the internet, toxic masculinity, racism and xenophobia are but a few of the topics that the 80 minute feature touches on.
This is a tale that wavers between experimental and narrative, and takes on several characters and storylines.
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, there are a few issues with the piece. Some characters, such as the virgin come across at times as not fully sketched, not entirely multi-dimensional.
Several stories feel unsatisfactorily closed, occasionally pre-emptively or arbitrarily introduced or finished.
This may be due to a larger question of the film taking on too many strands and disparate beats, in the end confusing viewers.
What does it all add up to? What Pastor is trying to say, or not say, in this jungle, ultimately becomes clouded amidst the range of styles, POV, place, character.
Effort, vivacious colours and zaniness are there, albeit inconsistently – though one gets the sense that this relentless image-maker will refine this.