What does it mean to use the camera as a mirror? To make palliative film? Palliative comes from the word palliare, to cloak, comfort, hide. I guess it refers to the symptoms that palliative care aims to cloak, comfort, hide. But the camera is doing the opposite. It is offering a reflection, aims for lucidity, intensification, the underlying structure of an event, an idea, a life, made visible.
Showing the TUESDAYS film two weeks ago in front of a London audience and the women in the film meant laying ourselves open. The women in the film, who had allowed me to show them crying and laughing, expressed their fears and their anger, dreams and joys. And myself, who had taken on the responsibility to make a film that remained a genuine representation of who they are, and what they are going through, whilst distilling down the experiences of five people over a year to 42 minutes. You can’t help but gulp.
It was an audience of people I didn’t know, Londoners who looked rather beautiful, a lot of young people. It was absolutely full. They must have listened to every word on the screen, because the questions picked up on phrases – Karen’s steady gaze as she said “after a while you realize fear is just a waste of time”. How do you stop being afraid? they asked. The answers were various. Five women. Five different life stories, five ways of living life to the full, five ways of saying we are still here, visible.
It was a remarkable event. It marked the end of the project and I am finding it hard to let go. We decided to have a party. The chair of Maggie’s, Nigel Cayzer overheard us and offered to host it at his house. Yes, yes, yes. That’s what I love about Maggie’s. It’s not just a building, it’s a celebration of relationship, of possibility, a moveable feast. Even, weather permitting, a picnic.