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Melissa: Mom and Me (2010)
Captivating and hopeful (spoilers)
Just saw this documentary on a Swedish channel, just by chance.
I usually like these biography documentaries about people from "poor" background etc. Only reason I didn't change channels, is because I love documentaries. Other peoples lives fascinates me. And I did like this one!
I didn't expect anything from this documentary as I just stumbled upon it. It was very well made and captivating. I had to pause it to go to the toilet (I very rarely do that...)
It follows the journey of Israeli Yael, who once was a stripper in Japan. There she met American Melissa and theybecame friends amongst drugs and misery.
Back in Israel, Yael finds herself obsessed with Melissa and, I felt, she might actually be in love with her, but denying it due to faith, parents,culture etc. It is never explained Anyway, seven years after their Japan stay, Yael goes to America to find Melissa. What is she doing now? What about the kids she abandoned to go to Japan.? Does Melissa remember Yael?
I gave this a 9. It could have been a ten if I'd got some more explanations. Why did Melissa return to the US? How did she overcome her drug addiction? What motivated her? How did she meet her husband? What is his opinion about her past? Why did Yael and Melissa go to Japan in the first place? Is that common? The leap from stripping to "ordinary" life is not explained for either of them. It left me wanting more information. It was too short, essentially.
I loved Yaels narrating, her voice, the questions she asked and the emotions she shared, were spot on (both in the old and the new filming). Her photography is also brilliant, even in the "home video" films from the Japan years. It almost feels arranged. Yael has definitely found her media and should continue making documentaries and taking photos!
Thank you for a lovely documentary, and good luck raising your family! You'll make a great mom, Yael, with that brain, your beauty and all that experience to share :)