The Brass Teapot is the stunning debut by first-time feature film director Ramaa Mosley. An already distinguished director of music videos, commercials, and short films, Mosley here for the first time stretches her wings and reveals her potential as a director of serious independent films.
The film is a modern fable about money and the meaning of the American Dream. Although it is told in a droll and darkly humorous manner, the fundamental thrust of the film is deeply moving and goes to the core of our collective conditioning to do whatever it takes to get ahead.
The teapot referred to in the title of the film has the alchemical property to turn lead into gold -- or rather, more precisely, to turn pain into money. Each time the teapot's possessor experiences pain, the teapot magically fills up with money -- the more pain, the more money.
Now what if you or I were faced with such a proposition? How far would we go? That is the fundamental issue addressed by this film.
The protagonists in this film are a young couple, down on their luck, buoyed only by their love for one another. The teapot that enters their lives becomes the object that transforms them from hapless losers into strutting winners -- but at the expense of everything that made them endearing at the outset.
Where all this ultimately leads is the drama that drives this ironic comedy; and the question that all of us must ask ourselves, as we leave the theatre, is what we would do if we were to come into possession of a similar teapot.
More deeply, we must ask, what is the actual teapot in our own lives? Surely the teapot is just a metaphor for something each one of us struggles with. What is the source of money for which we are willing to undergo pain? How far are we willing to go in that direction?
Mosley explores these issues with humanity, sensitivity, as well as the brave honesty to confront the multiple dimensions involved.
As a friend of a relative of the director, I had the good fortune to see a rough cut of this film several months ago. The final cut is now in its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival.