Jordi’s Letters

Really interesting documentary about Jordi, a man with cerebral palsy who experiences a crisis of faith after moving into a care home.

Jordi has lived at home with his parents his whole life, but they are getting older and are unable to care for him full-time anymore. Jordi is extremely close to his parents, and extremely close to God. He hears the voice of God. And this new separation is quite jarring and he has not heard God’s voice throughout. He asks the filmmaker Maider to go on pilgrimage with him to Lourdes.

The film foregrounds the collaborative nature of the film, eschewing the artifice of the unseen director with the omniscient eye of the camera. Its opening shots are of Jordi and Maider’s hands over the letter grid that Jordi uses to communicate. Jordi is unable to speak, but he can point to letters to spell out what he wants to say. In reality, he forms an abbreviated code with whoever he is speaking to; as Maider knows him well he can simply point to the first letter of the next word and she will be able to guess what he is saying. It’s like predictive text, but subjective. The subjectivity is very much centre-stage in these early scenes, as we are shown the working of their collaboration, that both Maider and Jordi are working together on what is said.

Maider is present in the film, in front of the camera, sitting with Jordi, gauging his expression and gestures as well as his letters to get his meaning. She shows herself positioning shots, and talking to Jordi about what she’d like to get out a scene, and listening to what he wants from it. There is an implicit acknowledgement of the inescapability of the power dynamics in which this film is being made, and rather than deny it, Maider chooses to show how it is negotiated. The audience can judge for themselves.

Jordi’s Letters is a journey following a big life change for Jordi, and how he deals with that emotionally, socially and spiritually. It is a film about faith, and the inner well of religious experience.

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