The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

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55th BFI London Film Festival: Dreams of a Life
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rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly


I saw Dreams of a Life today. It is billed as the intriguing story of a young woman discovered in a London flat three years after her death and is here:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/node/1671
In 2006 a woman's skeleton was found in a London flat. The woman, identified as Joyce Carol Vincent, had been dead for three years.



Photo credit: http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/node/1671

I can write this film up very briefly and quickly. Joyce Vincent was the same as me and many of the people I know - a single woman in her 30s/40s, with no husband/partner or children, living and working in London, but with a family (parents and siblings) and a wide and diverse network of friends, whom she had met through work and other social activities. She was outgoing, fun, attractive and popular. But in 2003 she died alone in her bedsit and no one noticed that she was now missing and absent from their lives. She was only found three years later when the police broke into her flat to repossess it due to mounting rent arrears.

The thought this prompted in me is exactly what kind of society are we living in when someone like Joyce can just die and vanish from the lives of her family and her friends and no one notices and (seemingly) no one cares?

Also, could this happen to me?!
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Hmm. A most depressing storyline. I have several city-dwelling single female friends, and would say that for all of them probably this is the greatest fear – as articulated indeed by Bridget Jones, although she thought it would take three weeks for her body to be found, not three years...

Seriously, and somewhat pessimistically, probably most of us will die alone, after which, for us personally time becomes meaningless, and our remembrance is for others to feel guilt about or not. But keep posting on LJ and I promise to alert your relatives up the road if I haven't heard from you for more than three weeks. :-))

This was yet another film that sounds depressing, but was not in the slightest. It was a celebration of Joyce's life and she was portrayed as someone who was vivacious, the life and soul of the party, attractive, popular and with a wide and diverse circle of friends. Yes she had fallen on hard times - it happens. The interviews with her friends and work colleagues were very telling - not one of them could believe what had happened to Joyce or that it could happen to someone like her (ie one of them). Most of them heard the story on the news and assumed it was a different Joyce Vincent, not the one that they had known and loved.

As you say, regardless of how many friends and family we are surrounded by, we leave this world alone. And, as one of Joyce's friends says, maybe that was the way she wanted to go, maybe she did not want to call anyone for help - there were people who she could have called, had she wanted to, including an ex who really cared about her.

As you know, because you have direct experience of this, my friends all laugh at the sheer volume of emails I send, and so they have all promised me that they would definitely notice if I stopped blitzing them with emails. Whether they would see that as a blessing in disguise is for them to know and me not to ask!

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