Gladys, A Life, 2005 (excerpt)
Running time: 5:20 minutes / SD / colour

In summer of 2004, while on an artist retreat, I had the privilege of spending several days with Gladys Barnes, a 95 year-old native of Trout River Newfoundland. We took to each other right away. While Gladys recounted experiences and stories from her life in a small fishing village near Grose Morne, much of the time was spent in silence. We felt comfortable in each other’s presence. Gladys was totally open to my filming her as she reflected on her life, her faith in God, sang hymns and dosed off to rest. I t was a real privilege to spend time with Gladys. I cherish those five days. The experience is deeply etched in my memory. I think of it as a gift.

When I returned home, I started looking at the footage in the hope to shaping it into a video. I need to live with the material for a long time. Sometimes I take hours of footage, only to use a few minutes of it and that was the case with Gladys. I wanted to capture the essence of this formidable woman.

In the end I used on a few minutes of the footage that I titled titled Gladys, A Life. In the footage Gladys is in a sleep/wakening state. We observe her moving in and out of consciousness. At one point a huge smile occurs on her face when she recognizes my presence in front of her. For me personally it was a moment of share intimacy – a moment that I will never forget.

Camera: Sylvia Safdie
Editing: Brigitte Dajczer, Sylvia Safdie
Audio: Silent