Paul's Dream

Paul's Dream


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

With old age comes the accumulation of sadness. Paul’s Dream captures this essential truth in 11 minutes.

Writer/director Ben Lawrence succeeds with infinite subtlety and superb camerawork (David Williamson). The hunch of a shoulder, the pressure of a hand upon the kitchen sink, the way that words fall like leaves unnoticed, sunlight through window panes after a troubled night, a detour on the path back from the postbox tell more than the bulbous rush of incontinent conversation.

The story of these two married pensioners lies in the blocked drain of their history. He sits in his vest and pants and talks of the bad dream he had last night and how he screamed in his sleep but his lips could not frame the sounds, “like having a stroke.”

She listens and hears echoes of a tragedy long gone, but never leaving. Her face is carved with suffering, while his is etched in innocence. They live together, but sleep apart.

It is not the why of the dream, nor even the wherefore. It is the memories. How the stirring of something so acute and painful can be activated by an old man’s inability to express his fears is the mystery of communication’s imperfection.

The performances, especially from Maggie Blinco, are beautifully understated. Lawrence has more than promise. He has an eye for detail and the courage to leave clues without brandishing a blunt instrument.

Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2007
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The hidden hurt of a long life. Showing at EIFF - World Shorts 1.

Director: Ben Lawrence

Writer: Ben Lawrence

Starring: Simon Chilvers, Maggie Blinco

Year: 2007

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: Australia


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