Thursday – Medicine For Melancholy
After seeing Moonlight I was intrigued to look at some more of Barry Jenkin’s films and Medicine For Melancholy is the only other film he is well-recognised for. Released in 2008 it is a low budget romantic film about a one-day romance between Micah and Jo, although it is not much of a happy love-story Jenkin’s has chosen to shine a light on particular issues when it comes to interracial relationships and indie culture.
The film opens with Micah and Jo awkwardly leaving a house party after their one night stand, with Jo wanting nothing to do with Micah and him wanting the opposite, their romance begins. Race is involved throughout the film as Micah’s sultry character makes many comments about race in the city of San Francisco and it soon becomes clear that he has an issue with interracial relationships whether it be due to his ending or in general but Jo is affected by this as her boyfriend is white. Later on in their day together they go to an indie rock bar and after this Micah states his issue with the indie subculture and the separation of black people from the culture, Jenkin’s once again brings an underlying issue in black culture to the table.
The colour of the film is dim throughout, almost black and white which killed my optimism of Jo and Micah being together and making me have no choice but to view their situation as dim and hopeless. In Moonlight I noticed that a short montage was made for Kevin’s character in which he breaks the fourth wall and looks directly into the camera and I also noticed it in this film when Micah talks of his profession in the fish tank industry and he looks directly into the camera. I’m not sure why Jenkin’s includes this in his films, but I think it makes the audience feel more personally involved with the character. Jenkin’s has created an interesting, yet quite draining romance with important underlying messages about the relationship between black and white culture.