Farah Goes Bang is directed and written by first-time
filmmaker Meera Menon and co-written by Laura Goode, who tell a female-centric story about what it means to be a multicultural person in modern America.
In the film, Farah Mahtab -- an awkward, Iranian American twentysomething -- takes a road trip along Route 66 with her best friends, K.J. and
Roopa, as part of John Kerry's ill-fated 2004 presidential campaign. Farah, it turns out, is concerned with more than the campaign's ground game: she hopes she will lose her virginity along the way.
She and her friends are assigned the arduous task of driving from California to Ohio
to canvass door-to-door for their candidate. Although most of the group feels it is futile to campagain in red states, Roopa convinces her friends that it’s
worth the effort. Their canvassing is met with racism, ignorance, and attacks based on the young women's views, ethnicity, and gender.
In one scene, a local says of Farah: "Tell your friend to go back to whatever
Taliban camp she came from." This is just one of the many
difficult encounters they face when campaigning in predominantly white Middle America.
The film is all at once a
coming-of-age narrative, a travel story, a "chick flick," and a tale of political activism. Farah Goes
Bang not only explores Generation Y’s agenda for change and the notion of what
is means to be a person of color in America, it also addresses female sexuality
in a brutally honest way. In one scene, Farah fears that she will bleed once
she loses her virginity, so she takes preemptive measures to try to “pop her cherry”
herself. The film tackles concerns from body
hair to condoms to sexual representation.
Shot in documentary, hand-held style, we follow Farah’s journey up close and grasp the reality of her situation. There is a fluidity
to the movements of the shots, which emit exuberance, vitality, and sincerity. In a film that is equally engaging, provocative, and progressive, Meera Menon crafts a comically
genuine portrait of a multiethnic and multifaceted ensemble of women exploring their identities against the backdrop of a specific time and political landscape in America.
So Yun Um is a blogger based in Los Angeles. You can find her film review blog here.