About the Filmmaker
Jason Price was born in Nutley, New Jersey in 1977. He served in Peace Corps Malawi and Americorps. He holds an MA in Social Anthropology and a Certificate in Culture and Media from New York University, and a BA from Middlebury College in Vermont. This is his first film.
When I screened some rough footage for a friend at the beginning of this production, he was impressed by the way that Prof communicated so regularly in fables, parables, and metaphor. Looking at the final cut now, I notice that the film is littered with figurative language - from the subtle pun featured in the opening scene, to the discussion regarding Prof's "glasses" near the end.
Figurative language, of course, alludes to multiple layers of meaning. Sometimes it can clarify, other times obscure. In this regard, it can be risky for an author who is looking to control interpretations, but that was never a concern of mine in making this film because this was never an expositive work.
This is a portrait. Though I attempted to reveal something essential about Prof's character, I had not intention of dictating any singular interpretation regarding who he is in the world. If people are fundamentally unknowable, then no exercise in portraiture could ever honestly operate on a single level of meaning, without ambiguity or a sense of ambivalence.
My favorite films tend to leave themselves open to different interpretations and to invite reinterpretation (even if they are expository in nature), and I suppose that's why they have lasting power for me.
One thing I find interesting in this film is the tension that arises between figurative and literal language. The moments when Prof attempts to speak explicitly regarding his situation are always sidetracked, and sooner or later we find him knee deep in a metaphor or fable or something else.
The citizenship scene that structures the film is an attempt to acquire a particular body of knowledge, yet it is always threatened by an encroaching ambiguity from elements in the outside world.
Perhaps this tension is natural. Perhaps it demonstrates the natural frustrations associated with the process of coming to terms with someone else.