A man engages in a relationship with a girl named Luna (Liberty Valentine), who is nearly half his age, things seem to be going well until he asks her if she loves him. Carrying out their existence together in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Luna returns from a day out to discover the man dead. Taking possession of his prized notebook, Luna follows a path, looking for answers, from Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, to a dust bowl café coincidentally named Luna Mesa.
Little have heard of Trent Harris, but this year three of his features come to the public eye The Beaver Trilogy, Rubin and Ed (both made some time ago) and now Luna Mesa. Some hail Harris as a genius, while some find his work abysmal.
Luna Mesa is without a doubt one of the most self-indulgent, random pieces of filmmaking that this reviewer has ever seen. It’s like a springboard to show off the director’s talent, yet little talent is actually visible here. Instead you have a move that some might call art, but most will consider pap.
Shot on High Definition video Luna Mesa looks incredibly cheap, cheap but interestingly quite beautiful. Beyond this, you have the story, which few will make any clear sense of, while it’s heart is based firmly in deceit, and you understand the bigger picture, the journey it takes is nothing less than bland. To compound the blandness, you have a final kick, a series of abysmal performances from a random looking cast. Valentine is no leading lady, and her performance is supported by equally abominable performances, and poor continuity.
Screening as part of the Raindance Film Festival half the audience left during the screening, the remaining half either fell asleep, or like myself sat laughing or questioning why on earth they were there. Luna Mesa is not a movie you can talk about in a positive way, it’s only blessing the short running time of just sixty minutes, about thirty-five too long.