Life is too short to suffer or to regret something. In fact, life exists just to be beautifully lived, without regret. Or, at least, this is the first lesson of life that the ‘Queens Way‘ mini-documentary aims to reveal to the audience, trying to create a succinct portrait of an extraordinary woman who managed to keep her serenity up to the end, learning how to look back in peace towards her own past and how to look optimistically towards the future. What director Alex Williams does in this project falls into a wider trend of recent documentaries that no longer propose to approach major figures of universal history, but to focus their creative energy on identifying small and great anonymous of our world with the aim of rendering a wider typological picture of the present we live in. Of course, believing that this mini-documentary has only a purely biographical value would be a restrictive preconception, as Alex Williams’s project goes beyond a strictly chronological event approach to Sally Luow’s existential journey, being, above all, a sort of cinematic essay about the ephemeral beauty of life that we have to protect and which we must enjoy every day.
Very shortly before her 85th anniversary, a former opera singer narrates her existential journey, remembering, in particular, the three marvelous marriages that ended tragically. “Three times a widow” – through this initial self-characterization, the woman essentialises her own life, oscillating between a bitter nostalgic smile and a contagious joie de vivre that invites the spectators into a quick and exciting incursion through the tense moments, but also through the small and great joys of a both sad and happy life with which (why not?) they can easily identify.
Without being a nonconformist cinematic project through its filming or editing means, perhaps the highest quality of this documentary is the temperate emotion the director is able to convey to the viewers, regardless of their thematic preferences. More specifically, Alex Williams prefers to build his short film only by capturing the interior of his protagonist’s home, surprising photographs, household objects or decorations that personalize the intimate museum of an empathic and warm individuality. The melodic and slightly melancholic soundtrack blends with short and fixed frames whose pleasant chromaticity manage to not disturb the fragile balance between the tragic register and the optimism of the confession of the former opera singer. ‘Queens Way’ is therefore not only a brief introduction to a balanced philosophy of life, but also a great declaration of love addressed to our present moment that builds our own self and can help us reconsider our own beliefs concerning our destiny.