Classic Cultural Gap Conflict Redefined:
I wanted to make “Adultolescence” as an emotional survey of the psychological landscape of family dynamics, through the eyes of a single family member, but also present multiple points-of-view. I knew this would be crucial, when reinterpreting another story of cultural gap and assimilation, to present something provocative or, at least, emotionally true in order to create a cinematic forum for discussion.
The story’s central struggle that threatens the relationship between child and parent is fundamental differences; resulting in a daughter who feels unaccepted and thus unequipped for the real world; and a mother underappreciated as her definition of success is wrapped up in having a “successful family.” The tragic conceit of this family’s stunted growth is that both Lea and her parents’ perspectives collide, yet both are justified in their world views.
It is with thoughtful characterizations that “Adultolescence” presents its dilemma: knowing their parents sacrificed their livelihood to secure their children’s future, how do first-generation Americans reconcile fulfilling parental expectations and going after their own dreams? Inspired by the spirit of Cassavettes’ films, I hope to provide humor and insight into this longstanding conflict by exposing the organic progression of family discontent in its raw, disjointed manifestations. I believe “Adultolescence” explores culturally-specific ideas, but delves into more satisfying, universal themes of family disconnection and alienation.
A Fractured Narrative for a Fractured World:
I also wanted to weave through the film a visceral, thematic narrative to integrate how popular culture creates a sense of isolation within the individual. “Adultolescence” speaks of today’s media-influenced generation: for the main character, Lea May is so affected by idealized fulfillment, a modern-day “Madame Bovary,” the barrier between reality and fantasy bleeds.
Even though Lea relentless searches for truth; she copes with paralyzing aspects in her life by rejecting reality and living in “playland,” as if seeing life from behind a fictitious camera lens. Because Lea is more concerned with observing outside of herself than living in the moment, “Adultolescence” uses a fractured narrative to exemplify the disparity. Her multiple perspectives, in contrast with each other, beg the question “which world is true and which is false?”
I believe when we relate primarily through media that brings us stimuli at microwavable speeds, a kind of simulated memory is implanted in the public’s experience. It gives us a common “past” and, along with it, a synthetic perspective. However, media can still be a great educator and a source of energy, as long as we don’t fall into its lazy eye… that we don’t fall into passivity but take on a creator’s vision instead.