Report of our EXpedition

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Finding the "Medicine for Melancholy"

I had been hoping to see this film for almost a year, since it was released. And thankfully, I was not disappointed in the long wait. Medicine for Melancholy begins, as as a young man and woman awaken from a one night stand, after a party. Both vaguely remember the night before, as the woman, Angela is in a hurry to forget, while the man, Micah is hoping for something more. The couple then share a cab to their respective homes, where upon exiting, Angela leaves her purse behind in the cab, only to have Micah pick it up. From here, Micah goes off to search for Angela, and after finding her, what was a night to forget, becomes a day to remember.

This film does not read as a formulaic romantic comedy, where an unrealistic adventure ensues. What does take place is a very human evolution of a relationship between a man and a woman. Micah tries to break down the defensive emotional wall that Angela reluctantly has put up toward Micah. Over the course of the day, both Angela and Micah explore and discover the pieces of each other that may have brought them together in the first place.

What grabbed my about this film, was its simplicity in showing real people, real Black people in a setting of courtship and attraction. There was no vulgarity or over-the-top action, to express the true subtleties of ones fondness toward another. All you see is real people in their vulnerability and awkwardness regarding one another. This was achieved by creating a slow pace, and taking deliberate shots to show the intricate nuances of each character. The director, Barry Jenkins has created, what I hope will be a classic of the new decade. And I anticipate that the actors, Wyatt Cenac(Micah) and Tracey Heggins(Angela), will have long careers ahead of them.

This film may be playing at an independent theater near you. It may also be available at your nearest retailer or visit or

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hoping for a Second Chance

I picked up this film at a session of Home Base Poetry, in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The story is about an absentee father, who tries to re-enter the lives of his son and former girlfriend, after five years. The film is entitled, "Second Chance", and was written, directed and produced by Iris Huey. Upon seeing the premise of this film, I was apprehensive and even cynical, believing that this was another stereotypical film, which would continue to degrade an already depressed African American community. But after viewing this piece, I was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity and even dignified approach to the subject matter.

The film took time to confront the reason behind the father's neglect, and the pain of abandonment within the mother. There weren't the cliched vulgarities that supposedly represent real relationships within the Africa diaspora. Director, Iris Huey focused on the vulnerabilities and the emotions of real people. Actors Divine Muhammad and Adrian Marcel Williams gave heartfelt performances that are worth seeing.

As an animator/filmmaker myself, I truly understand what an undertaking it is to produce a film. To be an independent filmmaker, as well, takes a certain type of fortitude and determination, that few people dare to have. With that said, the apparent use of digital video may be a little unsettling, but I hope the viewer can adjust and settle in to the story. I'm thankful for the efforts of artists like Miss Huey, and I hope more people will support the independent efforts like hers.

This film can be purchased, along with viewing the trailer at