To say I Am Breathing (2013) ‘stars’ Neil Platt would be misleading as the film is in no way ‘showy’ and nor does it try to be.
In cinema’s current climate of superheroes and übervillians indulging in never-ending redundant skyscraper smashing, in an age of filmmakers striving to make threadbare plots and under-developed characters more ‘real’ by smothering them in melodramatic angst, I Am Breathing is as real as it gets and offers a refreshing antidote to the mainstream’s bloated tentpole pandemic.
This humble and unpretentious documentary spans the final months of Neil’s life as his basic functions succumb to Motor Neurone Disease (MND). We join Neil, paralysed from the neck down, dependent on the care of his wife and family friends, some of which have put their own lives on hold to help make his as comfortable as possible. Upon being diagnosed with MND, Neil began a blog to document his body’s decline and raise awareness of the disease. It’s these posts and entries that inform the chapters of the film which cover life before the disease, what it’s been like to live with it and, weighing heaviest on his mind, how he can continue to be a positive influence in his son Oscar’s life when the MND finally wins.
Neil puts together a letter and memory box for Oscar and communicates his experience and thoughts about life his blog and this film – which he is determined to make.
The premise for the film may not sound the most positive but ultimately I Am Breathing is a rather uplifting experience filled with laughs, love and life. This film is filled with it and as the tagline says, I Am Breathing reminds us what it is to be alive. From the outset we know how this situation will end and yet, while a sense of finality is present throughout the film, it can not overshadow the love shared between father and son, husband and wife.
I Am Breathing is one of the most honest and affecting films you will see this year and one that deserves to reach as many people as it can. Despite making a buzz at festivals the film only received a limited release earlier this year and Minicine are host to the only public screening of the film in Leeds – one that should not be missed – and one that we are very proud to include in our programme.
As well as our feature presentation we will also be screening a selection of documentary shorts and as always the will be plenty of homemade cake, tea and coffee to go around.
The screening takes place from 7PM on Thursday 22nd August (doors at 6.40PM) and tickets are currently available from our online box office.