Century 2011: Dreams of a Life

Dreams of a Life. Carol Morley. 2011.

Oh, right. This is a documentary by Carol Morley, who did The Alcohol Years, which I saw… a couple of years ago? Hm. I don’t remember what it was about, but I must have liked it if I bought this one? Hm, I think I did?

So it’s about a woman who died and nobody discovered for like three years. In front of her TV which was still on.

Morley’s approach is original. It’s half interviews with people who had known Joyce Carol Vincent before she died (and didn’t think it was odd that they hadn’t heard from her in years), a woman playing her in the stories they tell, and pretty tacky reenactments of the cops examining her bedsit.

OK, from the first few minutes I was all prepared to hate this film, but it’s kinda fascinating. Morley changes the reenactments based on what the friends are saying, and they contradict themselves a lot. It all turns into this fascinating thing where I’m wondering how somebody would piece my life together if I died and nobody noticed for a few years. I know! So narcissistic!

Morley has all of these people saying contradictory things about Joyce, and it’s so fascinating. Very Rashomon. But it’s not perfect. Morley has a tendency to drop a musical “bed” behind the voices to give them greater emotional depth, and it’s cloying and annoying.

I did find the sequence of producers funny:

So much lottery!

It’s got the funniest “behind the scenes” documentary ever. All off the staff is always running off the stage because they’ve just discovered they’re not in Hollywood. Brilliant.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

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