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Berlinale: Neil Triffett’s ‘Emo the Musical’ in Tune With Today’s Tempo

Tolerance, tormented teens and a timely tempo…. There could scarcely be a better launch pad than this week’s Berlin Film Festival for “Emo the Musical.”

The debut feature of Australian director Neil Triffett played this week in the Generation section of the festival.

The story involves a sullen high-school student who falls in love with a blindly optimistic Christian girl, who is part of a band. Their romance sets up a quirky culture clash between the conventionally conservative and those who don’t accept the need to be upbeat and happy all the time.

Triffett, who has a large body of short film works since graduating in 2010, developed the feature from his previous short film of the same title which won a special mention when it screened in Berlin in 2014.

“I didn’t know that the Emo concept had legs, but after the short played Berlin and Edinburgh, the idea attracted finance from Screen Australia and elsewhere,” said Triffett.

The film doesn’t attempt to explain Emo culture – angst-filled teens, who dress distinctly – but has multiple parallels with current global political themes of minorities and tolerance. And with another musical “La La Land” collecting awards season glory, the musical genre appears headed for something of a comeback. Triffett who hadn’t seen “La La Land,” when he spoke to Variety, said “I see this as having more in common with ‘Pitch Perfect,’ ‘Sing Street,’ or ‘Once’.”

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