Monday, August 13, 2012

Dreams of a Life

I got to go to Dreams of a Life with my friend, Brydie and her mum and her mum's partner. I saw it at the Te Papa theatre, which I never knew existed. Afterwards we went and had cocktails at the Black Sparrow where the menus are refurbished old leather-bound books and the drinks are named after movies. I got a Big Lebowski.

The picture I have included sums up the premise of the film. The director, Carol Morley attempts to unpack the mystery in 'Errol Morris' documentary fashion where Joyce's friends are interviewed and a picture is painted about who this 'Joyce' really was and maybe 'how' she died. Because she had fully decomposed there was no evidence/body to carry out a coroners report but it was assumed to have been from natural causes, hinted at through the film as maybe an asthma attack. The descriptions Joyce's 'friends' gave of her was that she was vibrant, outgoing, stunningly beautiful, an object of lust and attraction, flirtatious, intelligent, well spoken. No one could understand why someone like Joyce (or at least the Joyce they knew (or thought they knew)) would have been left to die all alone in her apartment and not been contacted in that amount of time. However, what the film garnered was that she was inherently lonely, mysterious, depressed, and emotionally stunted. The film, while masquerading as a documentary had more feature-film qualities, the footage that was not interviews, was recreated and so an imagined interpretation of Joyce, her life etc. The danger of documentary is the representation of facts, which have (inevitably) been sprinkled with artistic license and so the question should always be posed 'is this actually 'real'? (A: No). What I enjoyed the most, and what I think other people in the audience liked a lot as well, was the slow and gradual revelation of the characters of the interviewees; their own lives, how they intersected with Joyce, the impact she had on them and vice-versa, their relationships with each other, their desires and so on. I think I would be fairly accurate in saying that 'Martin' (Joyce's (first?) boyfriend) was a crowd favourite, as was the lady in red who had some pretty funny mannerisms, Alister the music producer and the guy that went clubbing a lot in the 80s.

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