There is a new film out in the UK from director Carol Morley. Its called Dreams of a Life. I discovered this film very much the way I discover all of my film choices by universal improbability. This time it was Christmas and I am lying in bed scanning the internet more so than normal looking for films and art exhibitions to make the most of my break from work. My challenge, you see, is that I don’t like the risk involved in choosing a film. I really want to feel something when I see a film, I want those two hours to totally absorb me and take me somewhere I’ve never been before. So when I found Dreams of a Life was on at my local cinema, I was strangely and totally drawn to it.
Dreams of a Life is a simple film, its a documentary that traces the story of Joyce Vincent. Joyce was found dead in her flat in 2006 in London. She had been lying dead for 3 years and nobody had noticed. The story unfolds through a series of interviews with people who had known her over her life and the story that evolves is heartbreaking. Joyce has so many friends and so much life and is clearly loved by so many people. For me, the film is an incredibly moving story about how much we can really know our friends, its is a film about loneliness, it is a film about personal responsibility and a film that really affected me. I was totally absorbed by the complexity of the story, the loneliness of someone with so many great friends and a feeling of really wanting to reach out. The film is a simple collection of talking heads and this is its strength, its real people talking about someone they all knew and through these perspectives I got to build a picture of someone, it moved me and I struggled at three moments to hold back the tears.
And since watching it, its stayed with me. How many of my friends do I really know. I mean to know there hopes, fears and what they are struggling with. How many friends have I lost touch with who may need me. How many people do I work with or see on a regular basis who I don’t reach out to. I don’t think the effect of this film will ever leave me, it is beautiful and lingers. I intend to make 2012 a year where I try to reach out a little bit more.