Expression is a piece by Junyan Wang, Yue Cao, Yan Zhang and Hardy Mahoud.
The work-in-progress of Expression was deeply moving and beautiful. The story of the migrant experience is extremely relevant in 2017 and it is important that the voices of those affected are heard, rather than talked about from the outside. Expression allowed this with a true, nuanced perspective; a crucial ingredient in the public conversation.
The post-production had some elements that caused a little confusion. For example, who is Samaa? We meet Samaa at the beginning, learning that they are from Iraq, then don’t hear from them again until the end when they explain the incompetence of their teachers’ care. But we never hear their relation(ship) to the main subject or how they come into the story. Also, the introduction of Layan seems a little unclear. It took me a couple of watches to figure out that Layan is the name of the main subject. Can she introduce herself? Could there be a super to introduce her, rather than the text with the earlier title:
It is, of course, difficult to build major character development in a short window of 90 seconds. However, I think that connection with and empathy towards the subjects is key in sending the intended message to the audience. Otherwise, the piece runs the risk of losing the message and becoming a child’s ailments about going to school. Which would be a great shame, as there is a lot of beauty and important substance to the interview. When the subject is asked “do you like Australia?” and answers “no”, it challenges public perception in a very powerful way. If we are connected to the subject, this challenge could be very effective, without connection, however, I think it runs the risk of alienation. A tricky balance.
I can’t wait to see the final product of this touching story!
Note: Expressions is listed in the presentation program as With Children.
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