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When Life Shattered All My Dreams, The Magic Of Cinema Held Me Aloft

Thursday 15 August 2019


From Australian newspaper The Guardian:


‘One by one I lost pieces of my identity. Running,
swimming laps, riding my bike, reading books.
Friendships, travel, career.The idea of having children.
I felt as though I was disappearing.’
(Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

When life shattered all my dreams, the magic of cinema held me aloft

After the grief of chronic illness, I’d given up on love and joy. But attending film festivals lit a bright new path back to myself.

By Kerrie McCure
Tuesday 6 August 2019
© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

I was five years old when I fell in love with cinema. We were watching Pinocchio in an old theatre, crowded and noisy with parents and kids. I had a Heart ice-cream clenched in one hand – a grown-up’s ice-cream, a special treat. As the story unfolded, I felt sad, then scared, happy. So many feelings! The emotions were hard, and also thrilling. It was magical.

I was an aspiring film-maker in the early 90s when I first attended Sydney film festival. Initially, it was just one more thing to wedge into the chaos of my life. End-of-semester deadlines were looming and sometimes I’d dash to a session, then rush back to uni to edit a film. But I loved it – being in a crowd of fellow cinephiles, the applause at the end of films, the excitement of discovery. Days spent throwing off your life, forgetting everything and seeing the world through different eyes.

I was hooked. It was the beginning of an annual ritual, which continued at the Melbourne international film festival after I made Melbourne home.


Then 16 years ago I was forced to slow down. I started experiencing crushing fatigue and constant viruses. I’d wake up each morning exhausted and in pain, like I’d run a marathon in my sleep. My legs felt like I was wading through honey. Sometimes I had trouble following conversations and instructions or absorbing what I read.

Eventually I was diagnosed with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) and turned to face unrelenting indifference and disbelief. It’s a serious condition – 25% of patients are housebound or bedbound – but there’s so much stigma and dismissal.


Full article…



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