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'Dreams of a Life'

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Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW Film

Dreams of a Life

D: Carol Morley
Festival Favorites

As shown in Carol Morley's documentary Dreams of a Life, Joyce Carol Vincent – a young and attractive woman who preferred, it seems, to conform her life to the shape of others' – died alone in a cheap London bed-sitter where her corpse wasn't discovered until three years later – TV set still going. Morley's diverse methods of restaging this real-life arc as a film are a joy to behold, with an effective array of illustrative gambits shifting or fading into one another in engaging sequence, in rhythms that are as smooth and compelling as the R&B songs Vincent used to sing. The potential of powerful communication in service of biography is achieved with such cinematic precision and grace – no missteps, nothing unintentionally jarring or clunky, no pandering or mawkishness – that we can only hope for a similar memorial for ourselves and those we love.


Saturday, March 17, 1:30pm, Alamo Ritz

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