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Film Academic & Theatre Director RICHARD HAND Talks 5 Great British Horror Films On The Latest BritFlicks Podcast.

Dreams of a Life - Carol Morley

Richard Hand talks 5 Great British Horror Films with Stuart Wright on the BritFlicks Podcast.

BritFlicks Podcast host Stuart Wright delves into 5 Great British Horror Films with film academic and theatre director Richard Hand.  In this episode of the podcast Richard talks about the following British horror movies:

Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti et al, 1945)

The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

The Stone Tape (Peter Sasdy, 1972)

Theatre of Blood (Douglas Hickox, 1973)

Dreams of a Life (Carol Morley, 2011)

DREAMS OF LIFE - BritFlicks Review

‘Dreams of a Life’ - Morley’s dream of a life is beautiful and emotionally challenging: 

Compiled through imaginative reconstruction and interviews with people from her past, Carol Morley’s montage of the life of Joyce Vincent is an elegant and powerful commentary on social values and relationships. The social commentary never shouts too loudly and is subtly interwoven with the intrigue that surrounded Vincent’s life, revealing her to be a captivating and complicated personality.
Morley asks how a beautiful, popular young woman can disappear for three years only to be rediscovered dead in a dingy bedsit surrounded by neighbours and the bustling streets of London. Why did no-one care enough to look for this vivacious woman? ‘Dreams of a Life’ tries to answer these questions …

The varying perceptions of Vincent conveyed by her friends during the interviews provide a subliminal undertone to the overarching questions around relationships, as it addresses the extent to which anyone knows each other. This is remarkably prevalent in the discrepancies between Joyce’s former boyfriends’ recollections of her views. Identity, something that Joyce apparently lacked, is something that all of the interviewees agree upon. Everyone recalls how Vincent would appear as if from a vacuum and adopt her current boyfriend’s life as her own. This revelation asks the viewer, how do you define yourself? What informs your self-perception? And why was Vincent like this?

Zawe Ashton provided an understated and charming depiction of Joyce Vincent, and perhaps accurate as there is a strong resemblance between Vincent in pictures of her life and Zawe’s portrayal of her. However, the repetition of Zawe acting out the same fictitious moment of Joyce’s life woven through the film became tedious, unless Joyce had a Groundhog Day experience...? Despite the tedium of the repeated scenes the imaginings were atmospheric and the rest of the fictional scenes were equally as haunting and beautiful. A particular poignant technique of Morley’s was to depict Zawe in a more sordid scene from Joyce’s life and juxtapose it with the voiceover of one of Joyce’s friends describing an enchanting memory of her. It forces the viewer to confront the fact that sometimes our perceptions of people and their lives can be horribly wrong.

The fond way in which Joyce is spoken of is perhaps the most chilling element of the film because if someone can be loved that much, how can they disappear? The uncomfortable feeling that develops during the film is only exacerbated by Martin’s, (Joyce’s former boyfriend) final outburst of emotion and pain and more importantly, regret. The final image of the film – Joyce smiling at a camera during a rally where Nelson Mandela is speaking – is a haunting conclusion as the truth of Joyce’s life and death becomes more than someone’s memory, or dream.

Morley has created something that is captivating, while also being informative and incredibly thought-provoking and will hopefully affect the way that people see each other, even in a small way.

Holly Freeman
hollydarlingfreeman@hotmail.co.uk

Richard is the instructor for the latest Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies (London). 
The title of his presentation is: HORROR AND HILARITY: THE LEGACY OF THE GRAND-GUIGNOL

His presentation takes place at the Horse Hospital (central London, UK) on Thursday, 7 February 2019 - 7:00 pm 10:00 pm

Full ticket and venue details here www.thehorsehospital.com/event...

Credits

Intro/Outro music is by Chris Read. He can be contacted at www.thecomposers.tv

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