The core beliefs which shape our moral framework and dictate our behaviour, are moulded from an early childhood until the day we die. I believe that some of the best films make us question those beliefs and Adult does that with affecting conviction. Adapted from Greek short story Porn 1, by Christos Tsiolkas, and inspired by a personal tragedy in director Jamieson Pearce’s life, this 12-minute drama is a gripping tale about a mother’s guilt and desperate need for closure. It’s a stirring, provoking and achingly human story anchored by an impressive performance, that raises some uncomfortable questions and guarantees to leave a lump in your throat.
Adult follows the story of a grieving mother, whose journey in search of redemption leads her to an adult store, where she has to face the painful truth about her son. Set in the late 90’s, with an aesthetic which reflects the period, the film explores a plethora of themes around our moral makeup and the result is both uncomfortable and thoroughly captivating.
When we asked Pearce about what compelled him to adapt the short story into a short film he explained: “I found it thrilling the way it incorporates such loaded ideas around motherhood, grief, sexuality, guilt and shame into such a tight dramatic premise. And this character of the mother… I found her heartbreaking. At the time of reading this short story, I’d recently lost a friend to suicide, the reasons for which were linked to his sense of shame of being gay. And so the depiction of grief in Porn 1 resonated with me particularly strongly and further motivated me to tell this story.”
When films deal with broken parent/child relationships, due to the outdated views of a conservative mother or father, it’s usually approached from the child’s perspective, whose open-minded and modern opinions are often easier to empathise with. But Adult entirely omits the son’s point of view and the reasons behind his life choices from the narrative. What we are left with instead, is his mother who, despite harbouring prejudice views, still manages to win our sympathy. This is all thanks to her sensitively sketched character and the rich, haunting performance delivered by the brilliant Victoria Haralabidou. She is in fact so striking, that her face becomes a canvas for this heartbreaking tale, and to see her as she watches her son’s tape is to experience her pain as your own.
Pearce is currently in the early stages of script development for his first feature film as well as finishing another short Strangers, which will premiere at Sydney Film Festival in 2019. There is also a musical dramedy the director described as Skins meets Glee, currently being developed.