Thirteen-year-old Tessa (Jessica White) faces more than the usual tribulations of adolescence. When bad times hit, she and her mother find themselves living on the streets. The injustice of poverty is emphasized by the fact that Tessa's school chums are the children of very wealthy parents, and the only way to fit in is by lying. Add the gorgeous and expensive trappings of their Santa Barbara community, and you get a portrait of cruel contradictions seen through the eyes of a young girl.
Director and co-writer Peter Hyoguchi based some of the film's events on those from his own childhood. My mother brought me up by herself in Santa Barbara and we never had much money, he says. But with so much wealth around us, it was like a constant reminder of what we didn't have.
first, last and deposit was shot entirely on location in Santa Barbara, where sometimes the crew was comprised of just Hyoguchi and his digital camcorder. There was a boom operator, but mostly it was just me and the actors, Hyoguchi recalls. Most of the time people walking by didn't even notice we were making a film.
In first, last and deposit, Hyoguchi deftly captures the despair of mother and daughter in this gritty, realistic portrait reminiscent of Francois Truffaut's 400 BLOWS but updated with DV camera work and a sense of immediacy that's at once thrilling and entirely intimate.
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