Directed by: #MattMacedo
Written by: #MattMacedo
Our Oceans, the multi-award-winning short from Writer and Director Matt Macedo, is a film of great depth. It could comfortably fill a feature-length film but is instead a striking exploration of a family’s past through an 11-minute interaction in the present.
The film opens with the sound of the ocean, followed by a rose-tinted scene of children playing happily at sunset by the seashore.
That early evening warmth slips off quickly as we cut to a funeral.
In the church there is tension. Two young men are our focus and whilst one of them is comforted by a companion, the other is alone and visibly distressed.
They are brothers, Sean (Andrik Ochoa) and Chris (Sami Lee Robbins), and this is the funeral of their foster mother.
There is not a spare word in this whole script, as the older brother’s eulogy - which will gather profundity as the film progresses - shows. Recalling his foster mother’s words when he was a child, he says, “Baby boy, do you know who you are? Do you have any idea what you are capable of? You are capable of achieving greatness beyond your wildest imagination”.
“We owe her everything.”
This is a family in turmoil, and as the relationship between the two brothers is laid out before us in the following scenes, it is clear that they are at an impasse. One wants to reconnect, the other does not, and these roles are by no means fixed. Moments of connection are thwarted, pain gets in the way of progress and the assumptions of both understanding and misunderstanding are frustrating to watch.
“I think I know.”
“You think you know?”
“No, I know.”
“You don’t know shit.”
There are moments of reprieve from the tension: the glowing shots of the family on the beach, the mournful original music (Jamie Murgatroyd) and a scene where Sean tenderly picks through the objects of family life, memories and home in his foster mother’s garage. These all lend the piece a layer of serenity and remind us that there is love here beneath the conflict.
Writer and Director Matt Macedo has said that casting this film was particularly difficult, but as the six awards and a further four award nominations prove, this is a job very well done. Of note is the exquisite performance of non-binary actor Andrik Ochoa who plays Sean, a transgender character, a casting choice that elevates Our Oceans to a work of real integrity.
Our Oceans is a story of a family coming to terms with both a little sister becoming a little brother, and the death of the mother, but it is at its heart the exploration of any family’s attempts at crossing the oceans that keep us apart – oceans of hurt and ignorance, oceans of our own unique experience.