Emma: Amy, you are fascinated with death. In your press kit for THE EDGE OF DREAMING you speak about how it started with the death of your mother and then continued when you had to face the possibility of your own death, as portrayed in 'Dreaming'. In the process of making these films you have researched death extensively and are now developing a new documentary to be set in a hospice.
What motivates your fascination with death? Are there specific answers that you are looking for, and are these answers about dying or about living?
Amy: Bertold Brecht said we need, as individuals, to learn about dying. Montaigne wrote his essays (and coined the term, essay) as writings grappling with his own death. Our consciousness is enormous, and expands out of time. But it is housed in this frail, time-limited body. How we can we not wrestle with these paradoxes?
Amy: Life becomes more precious to me. I have begun to believe that our greatest attribute as human beings is our capacity for appreciation. The filming is evolving to act as a mirror to people at a very tender point in their lives. They connect powerfully to each other, to their families, to the world around them. I, and my camera, am caught up and held in their connections.
"The one thing we have in common is that we are going to die. We don’t know when we’re going to die, but we are going to die." – Karen O'Shaughnessy
The thought of our own mortality is deeply uncomfortable. But for members of the Tuesday meetings at the Maggie Centre in Dundee, it is a pressing eventuality.
Amy Hardie's documentary TUESDAYS follows the group’s five attendees as they come to terms with their diagnosis of incurable cancer and the prospect of their own imminent deaths. It is something that both terrifies and intrigues them.
"For me, [joining the group] was to see what it was like to die from cancer," admits Ruth Cave, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2004.
Death is the uniting factor – the women are drawn together from different backgrounds and beliefs by their own impending mortality. The group reflects this, having shrunk from eight to five within just a year, and protagonists speak frequently and candidly about preparing themselves and their families for death. How does one come to terms with the reality of leaving children and life behind forever?