Sarah Polley has a story to tell. As an actress and filmmaker, she tells the story of her Canadian family. It unfolds as we watch her preparations then actions as she records her family members’ accounts of their collective story. The focus is their mother, Diane, who has featured in hours of family movies which give life to the family’s memories of their mother from the perspective each. As the narrator, Sarah’s father, Michael Polley, reads the letter he has written to Sarah about her mother (who died when Sarah was 11 years old) and their family lives. On this foundation, Sarah has overlaid interviews with her siblings and family friends to produce the evolving picture of her mother, the family and their life intricacies. The story involves deep emotions, conflicting recall, intriguing variation in perception and fascinating insight into life, love and truth. Diana was a unique, but unsettled, woman. She was creative, enjoyed her work as an actress and craved constant excitement in her life – a total opposite to Michael, a fellow actor when they met.
As a film, this is extraordinary – it’s hard to keep real life and acting apart as we watch these characters. Even now, I’m not sure when we watched the real people recounting the story, or the actors playing each real person’s role. Sarah Polley has woven real family archival footage with newly produced film to create the entire effect. Diana is played by Rebecca Jenkins. It’s been awarded as an excellent documentary from multiple organisations – very well deserved.
Made in 2012. Directed by Sarah Polley