WORDS BY THOMASIN MCCUAIG
Presented with the support of the University of Sydney Union, DEEJ is a newly launched web series that is based on and inspired by the classic tale of Don Juan. It is not essential to know the famous tale of Don Juan in order to engage with and enjoy this highly stylistic and experimental series. However, given a little bit of context, the viewer is positioned to have a tighter grasp and understanding of how the director, Eugene Lynch, was influenced by the original story, yet took artistic measures to make it his own within our contemporary society. Don Juan is a Spanish, legendary and fictional libertine who devotes his life to seducing women of all ages and takes excessive pride in his ability to do so. However, he realises that a life spent in the pursuit of women ultimately leads to emptiness.
Lynch and all those involved in the production agreed on playing with the legend of Don Juan. Lynch describes the classic tale as being “based in a deeply Catholic and patriarchal view of the world.” When asked about their prominent aim, Lynch explains that they “tried to riff off it through a series of inversions – Deej is not charming. He is shown as a drunk not a libertine. His actions are not idealised. Really, it is about experimenting in how to take a classic text and try to portray it in a modern context on screen.” The directorial choice to subvert the characteristics of Don Juan and the circumstances that he finds himself to be in achieves its intention, as Deej is relatable within modern society, yet still holds integrity to the original tale, producing a similar effect.
Throughout the series, the director often chooses a stylistic approach to portray Deej’s emotional journey and this is enhanced through the use of experimental camera techniques, unique lighting and the overall production elements. The series transitions between the styles of realism and surrealism to provide the audience with a deeper insight into the psyche of the main character. In doing so, this creates a sense of intrigue, subsequently adding another level to the story being told. Despite being quite short, DEEJ is an engaging web series that doesn’t hesitate in taking risks and is definitely worth a watch.
DEEJ can be streamed on Facebook or YouTube.