H.P. Mendoza, the composer and co-star of festival hit Colma: The Musical (SDAFF ’06) returns with a solo directorial debut that aims his poisoned pen and catchy Casio keyboards toward that never-dead city San Francisco. Here we discover Bethesda (a radiant L.A. Renigen of Colma fame), newly arrived from Maryland and Manila, eager to succeed in the performance art world and hoping to find her birth mother, who abandoned her as a child. (“Will that help with your show?,” someone asks.) Her new flatmates, various artists united by their rootlessness (I won’t be here long, is the whisper that lingers in these walls), soon whisk our young Dorothy over the rainbow and into San Francisco’s alcoholic nights and hungover days, all filled with (of course) song and dance. Crawling through bars gay and straight, the still-disoriented Bethesda finds herself saddled with quite a few new identities (fag hag, homo honey, fruit fly, hack, slut, etc), but none that she actually wants; she’s got plenty of places to go, but still nowhere to be for long.
FRUIT FLY represents a new generation of Asian American filmmaking; its deceptively casual mash-up and embrace of ethnic and sexual identity politics is nuanced enough to fuel a masters’ thesis, but one doesn’t need a degree to understand what’s going on. It’s also textbook guerrilla filmmaking, a loud-and-proud, indie-Asian/gay hijacking of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg that turns the Mission, the Castro and more into an all-singing, all-dancing whirl of performance artists, thwarted lovers, sneering sideliners, punk lesbians, fag hags, leather bears and versatile bottoms, all ready to join you, ever so tunefully, in whatever journey you’re on.
- Jason Sanders
Read more here: Hawaii International Film Festival