INTER-MEZZO is an experimental triptych of independent yet inter-related shorts that treats the voice as a metaphor for political voice. Stephen Chen traces his journey as a male mezzo, faced with prejudice and marginalization back in Singapore, and later in North America. The schooling and suppression of his voice becomes interwoven with his experiences of colonialism and exile.
WHAT THE FACH? – the second in the INTER-MEZZO triptych exploits the experts / “talking heads” documentary genre, and uses the classification of the Western voice into categories (or fachs) to parallel knowledge systems and other formalized or “natural” boundaries such as streaming in schools in Singapore, and academia in North America. It illustrates how such categories are exclusionary and defined by systems of power, and how these boundaries suspend freedom and critical reflection. “I was … reduced to an object of aesthetic appreciation.” Stephen comments.
INTER-MEZZO is as much a documentary of performance as it is a performance of documentary; with its experimental mix of documentary, performance, performance art, biography, and humor to bracket the “objectivity” of verite aesthetics and the fetishizing of subjects. Deliberately and revelling in its low-budget, it posits itself against the increasing clamour of superficial style and production values vs. content and commentary. Ultimately, INTER-MEZZO is about questioning norms and boundaries others accept as “natural”, and finding one’s voice amidst suppression and exclusion.
RUNNING TIME: 15:17 | COMPLETED: 01/13 | DIRECTOR: STEPHEN CHEN | DISTRIBUTOR: