It is not easy to portray beauty in the dying process, or inspiration amidst terrible loss. Hope Is The Thing With Feathers succeeds in rendering the death of a partner a powerful elegy of hope and transcendence.This contemplative film examines issues of caregiving for a dying partner and the anticipation of one's own death. It looks at illness and bereavement as possibilities for creative expression, and for emotional and spiritual transformation. Through his powerful poetry, paintings, and testimony, Beau Riley draws a portrait of grief and healing between two people, each disabled in his own way: David, born a paraplegic; and Beau, a recovering alcoholic. The film is less a tragic story than a triumphant tribute to living life fully -- with mindfulness, compassion, and creativity -- suggesting what can survive great loss and transcend even death. For more information about this film and the filmmaker, visit the Open Eye Pictures website at openeyepictures.com.

"The [film's] images and words define life, disease and death with utter sincerity, elemental simplicity, brave spirituality, and great beauty... an important film."

Philip Yenawine, Former Director of Education, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Synopsis: 

A lush and lyrical film built around a poem which San Francisco poet and artist Beau Riley wrote as his lover of twelve years lay dying, the film shows one man plumbing the depths of his sorrow to find meaning through the strength of his mind, imagination, and devotion to his partner. Through his powerful poetry, paintings, and testimony, Beau draws a moving portrait of love between two people, each crippled in his own way: David, a paraplegic; Beau, a recovering alcoholic. They find healing and wholeness through one another, have to let go, and help each other in their own ways "cross over" to the other side.

In sharing this personal story, HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS can help us all approach the mystery and sorrow of great loss. A powerful elegy of hope and transcendence, the film is less a tragic story than a triumphant tribute to living life fully, with mindfulness, compassion and creativity. It shows what survives and transcends even death--the unbounded power of spirit and imagination. As Beau contemplates his own mortality, his legacy is to find the magic in the most difficult of life's journey and, from this palate, create an art of remembrance, forgiveness, and moving on.

Reviews

"Stunning!...the most eloquent expression of spirituality in the dying process ever captured on screen."

Bobb Goldsteinn, Media Presenter/Curator, "Artists Caught on Film"

"Very few films have the capacity to hold the truth about death, dying, grief and loss. HOPE's heart-rending truth rings clear across the chasm of death--creating a bridge for each of us. Heartily recommended."

Janet Childs, Founding Member & Director of Education, The Center for Living with Dying

"The most powerful example of the dying process I've ever seen. It expresses the emotional journey of care-taking a loved one with extraordinary honesty and compassion. A truly beautiful film."

Gail Jarson, MA, NCBF, Art/Grief Therapist

"This may be the most exquisite video I have ever seen. In the layers and layers of poetry where music touches movement touches voice and word and story -- something happens in the space between what is unsayable, and utterly said. Wherever the camera touches, the eye sees not only life turned to poetry in that moment, but somehow all life dying and living itself is recognized as poetry as well."

Kim Rosen, Poet/Lecturer