I’ve been thinking recently about how weird death is. (I know, what a way to start. My apologies). It’s strange to me that a person could have a life, with experiences, memories, influences on events and other people that leave tangible marks on the planet, and then just leave. The world keeps turning, and people move on- most of them not [directly] affected in any way.
In Fragments of You, writer/director, Chelsea Nwasike, brings these tangible marks to the front of our minds. In this silent film, our main character, Dave, visits the graveside of his wife, Eva, on what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary- his first one without her, a greeting card tells us. On his return home, he recalls the life he shared with her, and we are taken through this recollection by way of items in the house. Fragments of You weaves the story together through these items, guiding us through Dave’s day from beginning to its eventual end in a way that keeps us invested in his emotions. Though there is no speaking in the film, each item tells the story of a life of love lived- with a husband and wife who regularly played chess, danced in the living room, went to the beach, and who loved each other very much. This building, made of wood and plaster, comes alive as we move through its rooms, Dave’s memories inhabiting his physical space.
It’s striking to me that what he remembers is the mundane, everyday stuff. I find that the big moments are easier to cherish, but we don’t often acknowledge the mundane because they happen all the time. More than the memories we create on a trip or at a party, the ‘everyday’ness of everyday items makes them more closely linked to our loved ones. If we see someone use something often enough, we begin to associate that thing with that person, making that item a part (or a fragment) of them. In this way, houses, littered with everyday things, preserve the lives of people who may no longer be here; the way they drank through the mug, or the way they laughed when they broke the coaster still alive in those objects. After guiding us through all of this, the film makes its point clear with black screen text as it ends that reads, “life is not forever, cherish each moment.”
The mundane is where we live, appreciate it before it’s over.
You can watch Chelsea Nwasike’s Fragments of You here: https://www.chelseanwasike.com/fragmentsofyou