The Taste of Mango
Director Chloe Abrahams joins us in person for a post-screening conversation.
This screening is free to Amherst Cinema Members.
THE TASTE OF MANGO, Chloe Abrahams’ debut feature, is an enveloping, hypnotic, urgently personal meditation on family, memory, identity, violence, and love. At its centre are three extraordinary women: the director’s mother, Rozana; her grandmother, Jean; and the director herself. Their stories, by turns difficult and jubilant, testify to the entangled and ever-changing nature of inheritance and the ways in which we both hurt and protect the ones we love.
As a child, tensions between Rozana and Jean haunted family visits, and Chloe dreamed of a future where Rozana and Jean would be at peace. Growing up in the UK, she’d always sensed pain within Rozana, and she’d heard fragments about Jean’s tumultuous marriage back in Sri Lanka. Now, as a young adult, Chloe spends time with both Rozana and Jean, in London and Colombo, Sri Lanka, listening to and recording their stories. What emerges is a delicately layered, personal and collective portrait of coping with physical and sexual violence, the strength of family bonds across time and distance, the damage of grief and estrangement, and the possibilities of hope, joy, healing, and reconciliation.
Drawing on her experience as a portrait painter and video artist, Chloe employs a singular and assured cinematic language. Incorporating raw camcorder footage, she toggles toward metaphor, dwelling suggestively on textures, and pushing close-ups further than technology or physical autonomy can bear. Her voice-overs—in direct address to her mother—dialogue with a haunting soundtrack, which alternates between Suren Seneviratne’s dreamlike score and 1970s American country songs. The sum total plunges us with stunning immediacy into the filmmaker’s consciousness, where layers of time, sense memory, dreams, and imagination freely commingle. As speculative visions of the past and present nudge memories out of their pained silence, knots of trauma begin to loosen.
An official selection of the 2023 True/False Film Festival and MoMI First Look 2023.
About the filmmaker: Chloe Abrahams is a Sri Lankan British artist and filmmaker based between New York and London. Using methods drawn from both documentary and fiction practices she investigates the therapeutic potential of the confessional, culminating in visceral work spanning moving image, sound, writing and performance. In 2020 Chloe was awarded the John Brabourne Award and has three times been shortlisted for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2018, 2019, 2022). She had her first solo exhibition at OVADA (2014), and has since been selected for exhibitions worldwide, including The London Open at the Whitechapel Gallery 2022. THE TASTE OF MANGO is her first full-length documentary.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.