Farah Goes Bangis a film for our times. Ostensibly the tale of a young, low-level staffer working within John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, Farah has another goal in mind besides winning the election: losing her virginity. Her quest parallels the cross-country campaign, as she and her friends/co-workers visit various battleground states, coming to terms with both the country and themselves. This provocative feature film probes beneath large movements and personal desires, exploring the expectations we create for our lives.
Written by Laura Goode and Meera Menon, recently I had the opportunity to discuss this compelling work with Meera, whom also directed the film.
Review: How did you go about pulling this film together and what was your motivation for creating this work?
Menon: Laura Goode (the co-writer/producer) and I started writing this film while I was still in film school, and Laura had just finished publishing her first novel, a young adult novel called Sister Mischief. We knew we wanted to tell a story about those uninhibited years of self discovery post-college, some of which we spent together, some of which we invented, and some of which we experienced separately and each brought to the table. Both of us shared a desire to tell a story about young women that was funny, but socially engaged in some way. So we set it in the 2004 election, largely because we were in college during that time and really felt the impact that political moment had on young people, and the impact that its defeat (if you were in the Kerry end of things) had on our sense of idealism.
Review: It's interesting that you place the context of your character's quest within the political arena, which has become increasingly corrupted by unrestricted influence peddling and the gridlock created by intransigent political parties that more often than not operate as one party of what I like to call 'Republicrats'. What are some of the paradoxes that you feel these characters confront by engaging in the political dynamic; and how does that contrast with resolutions that they seek to issues or conflicts that might be embedded within their personal lives?
Menon: Well, I think because they are young, and we were looking to portray that moment of political idealism that comes with full participating in your first national election, these girls don't realize the severity of the political dynamic they are facing. Roopa genuinely believes she can turn Texas blue, that this is a thing that is possible. I absolutely love this about her. Similarly, in their personal lives, like with Farah, she learns over the course of the film that you do have to live your life believing you can be the change you want to see, that the change she seeks in her life is fully within her capability to fulfill. KJ is the one that might have the hardest time reconciling the personal and the political, because of what she has gone through, but I think through the process of campaigning and spending time traveling the country with her friends, she starts to build that bridge, which she clearly needs to do.