My first ever experience with the mysterious but innovative programme at Hot Docs, DocX, was last night at the Isabel Bader Theatre. For those who aren’t aware, DocX is a programme geared towards the immersive side of documentary storytelling. The programme largely consists of Virtual Reality exhibits and short films, but Kelly O’Brien’s POSTINGS FROM HOME was one shining star that stood out in the eyes of many.
Full disclosure, this isn’t a movie. Instead, it is a 70-minute slideshow of the Toronto filmmaker’s life during the past five years, accompanied with poetry on motherhood anxieties, depression and most importantly, wanting the best life for your children.
While O’Brien reads off her journal entries and the accompanied photos burst onto the screen, it’s impossible not to feel the same emotions that were running through her veins at the time. No matter if it’s a vertical iPhone selfie or a breathtaking short about childhood curiosity, each slide in this incredibly unique and intimate portrayal of suburban life in the 21st century is more poignant then the last.
The introspective poetry O’Brien accompanies with the seemingly surface level imagery on screen is reminiscent of something you would find in Jean-Luc Goddard’s earlier work (ironically, there is a quote from Goddard read with one of the images). Quite a bit of the writing feels pessimistic or, at the very least, brutally realistic but her natural and visibly adorable charm adds a hint of optimism for the future. This side of her writing can be especially visible when discussing her children and the beauty of everyday life.
This was everything I never knew I wanted from a live show. This isn’t, by any sense of the word, a grand spectacle of self-discovery that has been blown out of proportion to the state of unbelievability. Instead, it’s a subtly human, quiet, heart-breaking and emotionally-resonant evening with one of Toronto’s most underrated filmmakers. All I can do is thank Mrs. O’Brien from the bottom of my heart for crafting an experience that broke me emotionally, but healed me spiritually.