On 25 January, 2006, the remains of Joyce Vincent, a 38-year-old former secretary, were found slumped on the couch of her London flat, the telly still blaring; she had died December 2003. No missing persons reports had been filed in the three years her body lay there. On reading the story, Carol Morley (Edge) began a search for the people closest to Vincent to discover how this young woman was forgotten.
It’s an admirable project, but Morley’s resulting documentary, Dreams of a Life, which blends speculative reconstructions of Vincent’s last days (Fresh Meat's Zawe Ashton acts as stand-in) with gossipy talking head interviews with former lovers, co-workers and flatmates, makes for queazy viewing. By giving these (mostly) rubberneckers a mouthpiece, Morley exposes the racism, sexism and classism that blighted Vincent, an attractive woman from a working class West-Indies background, but it’s at the expense of the dignity of this very private person who in the end chose solitude over the company of Morley's ghastly interviewees. [Jamie Dunn]