Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch Now show­ing State Cin­ema

Michael Pol­ley, Sarah Pol­ley, Mark Pol­ley, Re­becca Jenk­ins

Sarah Pol­ley (



WITH Sto­ries We Tell, Cana­dian ac­tor and fi lm­maker Sarah Pol­ley serves up a unique, dy­nam­i­cally ren­dered doc­u­men­tary with a dif­fer­ence.

On the sur­face, Pol­ley’s mo­tives for this project seem straight­for­ward. She never re­ally got to know her late mother Diane, who died of can­cer in her early 40s.

At the out­set of pro­duc­tion, Pol­ley said she be­lieved cap­tur­ing the defi ni­tive life story of Diane might help her make sense of a griev­ing process she was far too young to un­der­stand at the time.

How­ever, the key to what this per­sonal project would ul­ti­mately be­come is hinted at in the plu­ral­ity of its ti­tle.

Pol­ley in­vited a vast ar­ray of fam­ily mem­bers and friends to re­late Diane’s bi­og­ra­phy as they re­mem­bered it. The dis­par­i­ties be­tween the rec­ol­lec­tions of each in­ter­vie­wee be­come quite pro­nounced at vary­ing stages in the fi lm, and Pol­ley bravely ex­am­ines all of them.

Some­times she pays a heavy emo­tional cost for do­ing so. At other times, those in­volved in the project are forced to con­front – and per­haps for­ever change – their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the ever- mys­te­ri­ous Diane.

The doco is nar­rated by Michael, Diane’s sec­ond hus­band, an in­trigu­ing pres­ence who could well have been a wor­thy sub­ject of a sim­i­lar fi lm.

He has only re­cently learned there was so much about his late wife he never knew.

The wounds sus­tained by hear­ing some time- de­layed home truths are still fresh for Michael.

For him to not only an­chor the fi lm as its voice but also lay bare his in­ner­most thoughts as its con­science turns out to be a brave and re­mark­able act.

For other par­tic­i­pants, Pol­ley’s project is any­thing but a ther­a­peu­tic ex­er­cise.

To the fi lm­maker’s credit, she does not leave out any on- cam­era crit­i­cism of her work.

In fact, Pol­ley’s mis­giv­ings about Sto­ries We Tell are very much to the fore through­out the fi lm, of­ten be­com­ing a sharp com­men­tary on the abil­ity of doc­u­men­taries to ad­e­quately con­vey the truth.

Be sure to see this mov­ing, funny and en­gross­ing fi lm with as lit­tle ad­vance knowl­edge as pos­si­ble. One of the most last­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of the year awaits.

Away From Her)

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