Francis is a war correspondent, in his mid 30s. Jaded and exhausted by war, he returns to the city he had left 10 years ago. He recalls his days as an idealistic young man, eager to change the world and a young woman named Nadine he had met and shared a deep bond with just before leaving for his first journalistic assignment. He attempts to reach out to Nadine again, yearning to find what he had left behind, and in the process discovers a truth he had not anticipated.
Francis was born in Australia. His grandfather served in World War II and his father served in
Vietnam as a young man. While his grandfather died in war, his father survived, only to come home
with PTSD. It was a difficult time for Francis and his mother but ultimately his father took his own
life, not wanting to cause any more pain for his family.
Francis grew up with a question marking over his father’s actions and rejected the stories and official
narrative around war of honour and pride. Suicide is seen as a cowardly act so everyone tried to over
emphasise how brave and honourable his father was in war. Unable to reconcile this with his own
experience of seeing his father battle PTSD, he grew determined to challenge the conventional
stories and narratives around war – of honour and pride and decided to tell war stories that don’t
come out. He studied journalism and focused on becoming a war correspondent.
Nadine was born in France and lost her family in a terrorist attack when she was around 12. She
moved to Australia to make a fresh start. She has struggled to forge her own identity but is very
driven. She is extremely passionate about food and cooking, which she inherited from her parents
who were great chefs and ran their own restaurant. She had miraculously survived the terrorist
attack (she was home) when her parents’ restaurant was blown up. Over time she has learned to use
her passion and love of food history, culture and the art of cooking as a force to take her life
forward. Instead of breaking her, it has made her more life affirming and forward looking. She is
keen to forge a new narrative, not to be shaped by terrorism and violence.
Coming of age in the 2000s meant that the layers of childhood and innocence we were
protected by, unravelled pretty quickly. 9/11 was followed by the invasion of Afghanistan and
Iraq and it became very clear to people of my generation that war and destruction was not
something of the past we read about in history but a reality of the present world. This film is
an attempt to explore the impact of this period and how it shaped our choices, decisions and
their consequences and the yearning to find meaning and love in such a world.
The formative years of my film education were spent watching and appreciating the works of
masters, the great directors of performance, of drama and the ease and simplicity with which
they pulled it off. Starting out to direct my first narrative short, I set a simple yet ambitious
goal for myself – make something cinematic out of the most common and arguably least
cinematic trope in cinema – two people talking to each other. The great directors I admired –
Coppola, Mann, Scorsese or Linklater were masters of such a scene. A Momentary Yearning is
built around the structure of two individuals talking to each other, across two different time
periods in their lives. The idea was to compress their life experiences, emotions and
aspirations within those carefully constructed scenes. The performances were key and I am
indebted to my two actors – Mathilde and Lachlan for working so hard, take after take to get
the scenes just right.
On behalf of the cast and crew of the film, I hope that audiences would be engaged, entertained
and moved by the characters and their experiences.