Casey Affleck , USA
A man (Casey Affleck, who also wrote and directed) and his daughter Rag (Anna Pniowsky) lie alone in their tent as he tells a prolonged alternate story of Noah’s Ark. That story ends happily, but the reality outside their tent is far bleaker. Unlike Noah’s Ark, there is no one female to every male, as the women of the world have largely died out due to a mysterious illness. Rag’s father has isolated them in the woods, avoiding human contact as much as possible in order to protect her from society. He knows the reality of the situation, the cruelness of men and the likelihood of discovery now that his daughter is entering adolescence. Rag is struggling with newfound wishes for independence as well as general curiosity about what it really means to be a woman. Father and daughter start to butt heads and society begins to encroach on their lives, and tensions rise as it becomes increasingly clear that their life as it currently stands, is not sustainable.
Beginning quiet and unassumingly, LIGHT OF MY LIFE is quick to gain tension. With every interaction the father and daughter make with the outside world, the question remains, will they be discovered? What will happen if they are? Casey Affleck plays his part with a quiet sensitivity, the stress of trying to protect his daughter for years becoming more and apparent. The goal, isolation, feels untenable and yet the other option, letting his daughter be taken, is likewise impossible. It is this undercurrent which fuels the entire film and it is also its biggest downfall in Affleck’s writing, for he seems incapable of taking it to its inevitable conclusion, leaving an unsatisfying ending. That being said, there is a lot to appreciate here, Affleck does a deft job with directing, the performances are subtle and effective, and the characters feel real. While it won’t likely be a film everyone rushes to see, it is certainly worth spending the time to seek it out.