'What's happened to me?' We embark on a journey from the brink of death back to language, music, life and love
By Patricia Hallam on January 11th 2015
The Possibilities Are Endless, directed by James Hall and Edward Lovelace, opens with a visual mystery box - the kind described by JJ Abrams in his 2007 TED talk. Emotive and romantic cinematography slowly introduces us to the harsh and beautiful landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, and the film goes on to scatter patches of speech over these images; “yes”, “no”, “Grace Maxwell” (his wife’s name) and “the possibilities are endless”.
This clever visual and audio technique contributes to, and eventually reveals, the mystery illness of former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins, who, after suffering a stroke in 2005 is on the road to recovery.
The film is poetic and slow-moving, an effective narrative method that mirrors Collins' slow physical progression. As scenes develop and we get wider glimpses into his life, we also hear of patches of his memories presenting themselves in his mind's eye, and becoming metaphors - tools for identifying with his relationships and his past self.
Collins struggles with his new self, 'stuck in a groove' between his past and present. One day Grace gifts him a sketchpad and some pencils, pushing him along over the cavern to his next self. His drawing becomes his new form of self expression, to be alive again - 'to move on to the non-arrogant phase of his life.
"Looking back is nostalgic" he says, "looking forward is the way".