In the summer of 2015 (shortly after my production company, LUSTR, was formed) I directed a project called "hearts on fire". Using original movement and music, my partners and I set out to create a performance piece with the following prompt: what is too serious to laugh about?
We arrived at a story, told in more abstract forms, about two young lovers' abusive relationship and the dangerous dynamic of control that existed between them. The project was never edited that summer, and "hearts on fire" was soon forgotten about. Recently, however, I stumbled upon the project's footage and decided to edit it myself.
Public discourse with regard to sexual harassment and violence has undergone an evolution of sorts in recent months, and so this film seems all the more relevant today than when it was conceived even a few years ago. Some may criticize this narrative for failing to redeem the female character, and I agree we need more stories that are redemptive and empowering. Others may claim that depictions of violence against women are oversaturated, and I agree we need fewer depictions which are gratuitous or superfluous. However, as is tragically the case, there is most often no redemption for women victimized by physical or sexual domestic violence. So too are these violations continually prevalent across all cultures. This film merely reflects that reality.
I wish for this film to be disconcerting, especially for my fellow male viewers. And I wish that as a generation of young men, we listen more and hurt less.