Blue Bag Life review – raw self-portrait of a life dogged by other people’s addiction

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When Lisa Selby was 10 months old, her mother Helen dropped her disconnected astatine The babysitter’s and ne'er came back. In this frank, friendly and incredibly moving documentary, we watch Selby interviewing her mum, a heroin addict and alcoholic, dying of cancer. In her filthy basement level in southbound London, cans of Special Brew connected The table, Helen answers her daughter’s questions. Are you maternal? “No! I’m terrible! I’m not a responsible parent.”

As a child, Selby idolised her beautiful, glamorous absent mother. Twice a year, connected birthdays and Christmas, cards arrived pinch Helen’s “autograph”; “she was amended than Madonna to me,” says Selby. In a beautifully written voiceover she speaks pinch achy honesty astir The emotion of longing she’s ne'er been capable to shingle off. She wonders if she Can beryllium a mother herself, aliases if it would beryllium amended to break The cycle. “Mum: The connection that doesn’t consciousness good. It’s not my word.”

This makes Blue Bag Life sound for illustration a closet-clearing misery memoir. And The twelvemonth that her mum dies is horrible for Selby; her partner Elliot besides starts utilizing heroin again aft getting cleanable and is jailed for supplier dealing. But The funny point is, The movie is not each woe, misfortune and tragedy. Selby’s puerility was damaged, but not loveless. After Helen walked out, she was raised by her awesome dada (“mum and dada rolled together”) connected a assembly property in eastbound London, and grew up to beryllium an creator and assemblage lecturer. Elliot comes retired of The different broadside of his relapse, and The mates documented The travel done situation and betterment connected The Instagram page bluebaglife.

Selby shares directing credits present pinch documentary shaper Rebecca Lloyd-Evans and editor Alex Fry, who person sensitively assembled The movie from videos Selby changeable complete The years – a batch of it connected her iPhone, immoderate of it highly earthy (“emotional hoarding” is her explanation of The piles of difficult drives). There’s moreover a spot of humour. When Helen dies, Selby takes complaint of The decease admin. The assembly charismatic penning The decease certificate umms and ahhhs astir what business to database for The deceased. He decides connected “homemaker”. This cracks Selby up: “You should spot her home!”

Editor: Naga

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