Set in Newport, Oregon, a small coastal town whose fishing fleet has vanished, and survives on second-homes and tourism, HOMECOMING is rooted directly in the present realities of America. We are introduced to a normal family: Jeff (Keith Scales) and his wife Mattie (Kate Sannella), and son Chris (Ryan Harper Gray). Jeff runs a small real estate office and his wife shares the work. Chris is an unemployed 26 year old slacker, living with a younger girlfriend, (Kat Eastman). Obliquely we learn of another son, in the service, “over there.” Mattie discreetly does bit of drinking, Jeff hustles his business. Mattie fails to get some papers to the bank and Jeff’s company loses out on a $50,000 deal. Chris is dumped by his girlfriend and in counseling with a social-service therapist (Steve Taylor). We find out that Chris is Jeff’s step-son, and his own son Steve is the one in Iraq.
Steve’s homecoming is in a transfer tube. After the funeral the family gathers by the ocean and the fissures within rip apart. Jeff and Chris have a confrontation that leaves Chris with a bloody nose on the ground. Mattie drinks and ends on the floor herself as Jeff loses it. Chris visits his therapist at home and ends up getting a blow-job. He stops by and sees his old girlfriend in an attempt to make up. She turns him down. Chris jumps of a bluff known locally as “Jump Off Joe’s”
HOMECOMING is not a “plot” film, but more a tone-poem; its meanings arise from its broader ambience, its moods, its sense of time and place. It is meant as a metaphor for the larger family of America, which, at this time, is harshly divided, and unable to speak to itself meaningfully across that division. This film broaches this subject poetically, gently, through a depiction of characters who are unable to articulate to each other or to themselves the disquiet which curdles within them.
2004 | Digital Video | Color | Sound | 104 minutes
Producer, Director, Editor, Camera, and Sound : Jon
Music: Erling Wold
With: Ryan Harper Gray, Kathryn Sennella, Keith
Scales, Kateri Eastman, Steve Taylor
Shown at: Premiered in Cinema Digitale section of
the Venice Film Festival, Sept. 2004.