Clad in slim jeans and a leather jacket, with his electric guitar strapped to his back, jazz musician Michael (Elijah Reid) cuts an effortlessly cool figure as he moves through the streets of Addis Ababa. Playing the nightclubs of his beloved city and excited by the promise of an upcoming tour, Michael is every bit the working musician. When his mother asks him to join her in Brussels, the guitarist falls into deep existential dread at the thought of leaving and becoming part of the diaspora in a continent defined by its history of white entitlement and mistreatment. Michael sets out to bid loved ones goodbye, enjoying the simple pleasures of the city one last time. He comes to find a deeper purpose and a revolutionary reason for being in this jazzy, intimate look at the emotional toll of colonialism and the forced displacement at its cruel center.
Writer/director Edmundo Bejarano has crafted a richly layered, naturalistic portrait of displacement not just as a physical reality but as a historically shaped emotional space. With saturated nighttime lensing by Carlos Vargas, Melody of Love authentically captures the psychological toll of being culturally de-centered and the strategies needed to overcome it.––Cedar Sherbert
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