The end of the semester crawls ever nearer, an impossibly slow tsunami of deadlines, exams, parties and the satisfaction one gets from surviving another sentence in the academic jungle… A little artier than usual? Yup, I’ve been getting my poetic on.
With the change in focus for the film, I took an analytic approach to the dialogue from Alan and Pat. I’ve been searching the details, discussions and depths of the characters they present to find points of similarity and singularity. The obvious ones, both migrants, both in Wollongong, are easy, and are followed by the slightly harder to discern. Both our characters explore their understanding of place in regard to a home they left, and both miss their origin. Alan, older when he originally left the Congo, has a more complete understanding of it, while Pat has the idealisation of a child. Both have experiences of positive and negative receptions in country and both struggled to connect with the local population of Wollongong. Interestingly, where Alan struggled with language, Pat, through her own stories, demonstrates how migrants of every background communicated and formed bonds in the face of limited common language. The similarities and differences continue to appear the deeper you look, and I think that will be a serious strength for our film.
On a more artistic and poetic level, worrying about the audio has made me actually realise there is a level of analysis to be had there. The wide recording audio captured a lot of background noise. Though, yes, this is annoying and the greatest flaw in the film, there is something to be gained from it. The birds, occasional car and wind of the suburbs captured in the background of Pats interview are representative of who she is now and how she was for the majority of her life. Her background, suburban, closer to nature than the city but not far from it, accompanies her stories of friends, close neighbours, gumtrees and mosquitoes. Alan, his audio background the humdrum of traffic and office work fit perfectly his recollection of his introduction to the city and his base in the CBD. Even his clothes, a collared shirt under a plain sweater, dress pants and a belt, are symbolic of the different way that he has assimilated and built a personality in his surroundings.
Continuing on the audio, under the whole film at varying levels, a recording of waves crashing at the beach plays as atmos, almost representing Wollongong, another factor that drew these two completely different migrants together.