When I see phrases in the TIFF precis like ‘barest of budgets’ ‘first-time feature filmmaker’ and ‘visual innovation’ I usually prepare myself for a bit of a bumpy ride. But Medicine for Melancholy took me on a beautiful bike trip through the streets of San Fransisco as I watched two people start what could have been the beginning of a great relationship. The male lead, Micah is obsessed with colour, and to contrast the filmmaker gives us a almost completely desaturated landscape throughout the film. Micah pursues Jo with single-minded determination, while she clearly wants to just wash the one night stand off her and go back to her life.
Throughout the film music is very prominently featured, while the sounds of the city are muted. I’m not sure this was a conscious choice or just the end result of a small budget and an uneven sound mix, but all of the song choices were fantastic. The music takes us through points in their budding relationship where were don’t need to hear what they are saying, or they don’t need to talk at all. The first touch of his hand to the small of her back in a public place, the first attempt to hold her hand are like the first self-conscious steps onto a dance floor.
In a world (we miss you LaFontaine) with so many missed connections sometimes even the connections you make aren’t at the right time or with the right person, but the exploration of potential is worth the effort.