The end of classes and graduation are approaching, and the familiar anxiety of a big event also draws near, one that connects family, drama, and discomfort. As the title of a previous post suggests, though, there are happy things too. It’s a time for celebration.
Yet that stone of anticipation sitting in one’s stomach is far from easy to digest. Much like before winter break, when I chose to take on this film project, my brain continues to run through potential bad scenarios like an over-stylized melodrama on repeat. Who’s going to be where and what if they see them? How will I split my time evenly? Jesus, even writing this makes me want to slap myself; at some point you just have to throw your hands up and say, “who gives a shit?”
The mood of this anticipation is what brings me here, to this post. The very real anxieties and the very real disavowal of said anxieties are exactly why I suddenly rushed to put the logistics of the project together in the midst of finals last semester, and why I needed to do so.
In fact, as much as the film is about family, and about place – home and geography, and how such factors inform who we are – it’s about the individual’s experiences with these shaping forces. The hooded figure above is one of my sisters, who kindly agreed to help me by appearing in a few shots. Bringing a human into visual representations is vital to the felt experience of the film. The final product may fall into abstraction at points, in addition to being too personal and micro in scope for the audience to connect with (if it even ends up being shared with an audience), but at some level my sister may provide that small hint of universality through the personal, someone through whom an outsider might feel a connection.
And though her face isn’t visible in any of the shots, in the end, her persona has agency. Though the shaping forces are important, they are not defining; the film is not about things being done to someone while that someone exists a passive blob of human matter, and that’s not what life is about.
It’s about digging out. It’s about saying “F you” to the things you can’t control, and doing your own thing. It’s about understanding where you came from and how that has shaped your view, picking out the things you like about it, and taking a shovel to the rest when you can. It’s about taking the time to say, “who gives a shit” while you try to enjoy something that’s supposed to be good. So, as much as I know I will seesaw back and forth from this claim, I say bring it on, graduation drama. Who gives a shit.