Susan & Thomas
SUSAN & THOMAS (production completed December, 2016, final cut, November, 2017) is a stream of consciousness narrative based on Susan Sontag's first encounter with her then literary idol Thomas Mann as a 14 year old high schooler with literary ambitions living in 1947 LA, and it is based on Sontag's 1987 New Yorker magazine essay "Pilgrimage." It is a personal take on a true story. Melissa Chalsma as "the writer" retraces Sontag's steps. Like Richard Linklater's Boyhood, SUSAN & THOMAS was shot over a time period of many years in an attempt to evoke the layered, disjointed, and elusive but seamless nature of memory filtered through experience and identification. Though the story is sequential in nature, the non linear visuals mix chronological time showing "the writer" somewhat randomly at different times of her life. Subtle changes in aspect ratio seek to reinforce this idea. Susan & Thomas makes extensive use of historic locations such as Thomas Mann's own San Remo Drive residence in Pacific Palisades where the great master wrote Doctor Faustus, and the Aldous and Laura Huxley house in Hollywood.