Amongst the hustle of film producers, the brief appearance of a movie star - was that Angelina Jolie? - and the cold shuffle of those mere-mortals queueing up on the curb awaiting their inevitable fate of a seat behind an Iron Lady-inspired bouffant - wait, was that Meryl Streep? - there was an intimate screening of the critically-acclaimed UK film, ‘Dreams of a Life’. Hosted by the recently established Berlin Film Society (BFS), this was certainly an event well-worth ditching all the festival hype (and queues) for.
Having garnered much attention in the UK, ‘Dreams of a Life’ premiered in Berlin last Monday at the BFS launch at Babylon Kino, in association with Entertainment One, Berlin Black History Month and Dialogue Books. The film was a stunning portrayal - a collective recollection in documentary form combined with an imagined dramatisation - of the life and death of Joyce Vincent. Found dead in her apartment, nothing more than a skeleton after years of decay, the Joyce Vincent ‘story’ became a sensation in the UK press at the time. Vincent’s body had being lying in the same place, surrounded by wrapped Christmas presents and with the BBC still tuned in on the TV, for three whole years. Nobody realised and, it seemed, nobody cared. When Carol Morley, the director, heard news of this mysterious death, it propelled her into an obsessional pursuit to uncover who this person was, and how someone could lay dead for three years without anyone noticing.
Morley’s film is a moving and disturbing presentation of a life lived, lost, forgotten, yet brought miraculously back to life by the often faint recollections of former boyfriends, one-time flatmates, former colleagues, and Zawe Ashton’s haunting portrayal of Joyce, in a relentless skin-tight blue dress and singing into a hairbrush in front of a mirror. This is a film that lingers.
The screening was followed by a discussion and Q&A with the director, Carol Morley, and actress, Zawe Ashton, moderated by Sharmaine Lovegrove of Dialogue Books.
A great film and a great launch event for the Berlin Film Society!
Watch out for the next event:
Future Shorts Film Festival
Saturday 3rd March
Photos © Denise Vandecruze