Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Sarah Polley's shape shifting documentary

(written 14th August) I managed to finally see the Sarah Polley film "Stories We Tell" and was very glad to have been part of the cinema audience for this film

I managed to see the documentary film Stories We Tell directed by Sarah Polley. I write this as I don't know what to say about the film other than I have seen it, I witnessed the movie. I admit that I didn't go to see the film to learn about Diane Polley so much but to find out something that was to cause a shift in Sarah Polley's life and indeed find out about who Diane Polley was on the way which I believe I have succeeded in and also found out who the rest of Sarah's are.

It was a strange scenario perhaps, all these years having been a fan of Sarah Polley since her appearance in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, , having seen episodes of  The Road To Avon Lea, and watched her in Atom Egoyan's movies such Exotica and especially The Sweet Hereafter in which she provides songs to enchant her fans with her silvery voice. She has become a film director. But now we find her peeling away the origins of her life

What was first of all a film about people such as her family recounting their memories of her mother

Coming to find this out probably changes for a while everything one might have thought about Sarah Polley who she was in terms of her roots but she remains as the daughter of Michael Polley since he was the one who brought her up, and the news about Harry Gulkin being her biological father seemed to have brought Sarah Polley back together with Michael Polley as some distancing had been going on over time. And indeed Michael remains philosophical and accepts what had gone on in the past without regrets. In the film Harry Gulkin wanted to release a book about his relationship with Diane Polley which Sarah appears to stop in its tracks from being released. He also wanted the documentary to only be about his story of his love affair with Diane Polley and Sarah would not accept this since it was a documentary about everyone's perspectives.

Being a witness to this film almost brings one into being entangled with something of the unspoken confusion that must have gone on as everyone finds a way to reassemble their lives which led to the breakup of the marriages of Sarah Polley and her two sisters now half sisters.

Diane Polley who died when she was eleven, the story turns around when she discovers that her mother seemed to have had an affair with another man at one point when the marriage had grown week and so it seemed that this man would have been her father so that meant the man that she grew up believing was her father Michael Polley was no longer biologically so. She soon discovers who her biological father is, Harry Gulkin a film maker / writer of Russian Jewish background, and finds the similarities between them that might be genetic or indeed coincidence, and so then comparing herself to half sister by her biological father she finds the origin of her gummy smile and her half sister is someone she is able to get on with..

The oddity of what went on in the documentary can only be fully appreciated by watching the whole thing rather than reading a review by myself and my fragmented perception of the movie, and one is brought faced to face with these different people brought together in a film because of a curious situation regarding this globally relevant young woman from Canada. One might continue to ponder over the whole thing, and it might just be a thing that can take place in the lives of many people and soon the truth may surface but also as a documentary, it's curious how the project transformed from one thing to another along the way and revealed curious aspects normally unrevealable about the film maker herself not intended to be brought to the surface but only comes through in the ironic remarks made by her family.

Sarah Polley indeed never fails to continue to make a major contribution to the collective consciousness by digging deep within to reveal a precious stone that is herself, and also those around her.

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