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MixedUp documentary review

★★★★

Directed by: Howard J Davis (aka Haui)

Written by: Howard J Davis (aka Haui)

Starring: Alison Wong, Jani Lauzon, Thom Allison, Tantoo Cardinal

 
Poster for MixedUp showing protagonist.
Poster for MixedUp

For his feature-film directorial debut, Davis explores the issues and struggles that mixed-race people have to deal with and he does so by telling his life's story, as he himself is a person of mixed-race, having been born to a Caucasian mother and a mixed-race father.


Basically, the documentary (which sometimes instead of the word 'up' has an arrow pointing up in its title) asks what it means to be mixed heritage. How are individuals who are not Caucasian treated by others? What is life like for them? How do they feel?


The film is narrated by Davis, who is also a homosexual and it is rather interesting listening to his life's story, learning about him and his thoughts regarding being mixed-race. He comes across as a likeable and intelligent individual. He is often seen in a medium closeup, looking at the camera while he talks.


Apart from Davis, the documentary also includes interviews of other persons who are mixed-race, including his two sisters. They look at the audience and tell them about their thoughts and emotions regarding their mixed heritage and the struggles they have to face. Like Haui, they too appear to be nice, decent people.


As the majority of this feature focuses on Davis, it includes many pictures of him during his childhood and others that are more recent. There is plenty of home video footage of his family and several scenes from old movies that deal with race discrimination.


This documentary is very well made, with editing that makes rather effective use of superimposition, split screen and wipe techniques. There are sequences that involve very creative animation and the closing credits are well constructed. There is a part that deserves special mention and it involves the medium closeup of a man, whose skin gradually turns white. The special effects and the opera song that plays throughout makes this short sequence quite mesmerizing and memorable.


The soundtrack is rich, consisting of multiple entertaining tracks.


MixedUp is a documentary that takes the viewer on an emotional and thought-provoking journey. It introduces the life of an individual who expresses what it means to be mixed-raced and he and the interviewees communicate thoughts that are worth taking into account.

 

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