At the Flatpack Film festival, in Birmingham, I was lucky enough to get a chance to watch “In a Dream” at the beautiful Electric Cinema and the film has been running through my mind ever since.
I sat down to watch the film, coffee in hand, prepared for an edgy, philosophical, plunge into the mind of Philadelphia’s prolific artist, Isaiah Zagar. What I found, instead, was a film that I truly connected with like no other.
In the beginning of the film we are introduced to Isaiah and his beautiful mosaic murals that cover over 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia. Then the film begins with Isaiah’s narrative on his salad days as an artist, and from that point you had a sense that this would not be your typical film about art. Moreover, the cinematography was equally as mesmerising as plot; panning over Isaiah’s stunning architectural art both inside and out.
Rather than being a standard biopic or a dreary journal of events, the film is a brutally honest piece on the quirky warm-hearted Isaiah alongside his one-in-a-million wife Julia and their beautiful family throughout the years.
Director Jeremiah Zagar never shies away from any aspect of his family’s life or history, delving into issues of mental illness, molestation, addiction, forgiveness, love and family. He lays his family bare allowing the audience to really build a connection, not based on just empathy or admiration, instead, a real sense of kinship.
I hadn’t even realised my own connection with Zagar’s family until I reached a pivotal point in the film where Isaiah’s marriage skates on thin ice. Until then, I had never watched a movie praying for something to happen, like I did when I prayed silently for Isaiah’s family to stay together through all the emotional hangups.
I had plans to watch a few more movies and then drive back to London after the festival was over. However as surreal as it sounds, after the film, all I wanted to do was to see my family, my parents, my siblings. I even strongly considered driving straight out of Birmingham, past London, straight to my parents house (which is basically driving from near the top of England right down to the south coast!) The film had touched me that much!
Do you know how crazy that is? To watch a movie about strangers and then want to drive clear across country to see your parents. But hand on heart; that’s what this film did for me. The next morning I fruitlessly went online to buy the DVD, then to find the cinema times; like an addict I was trying to do anything I could to see this film again. However I must wait; the film arrives in cinemas this spring, I cannot recommend this enough.
For more info on the festival, visit: “Flatpack Film Festival” official website.