BFI Recommends: The Possibilities Are Endless

Henry Barnes finds a mantra for crazy times in this documentary about indie god Edwyn Collins’ comeback from a stroke.

The Possibilities Are Endless (2014)

This documentary on alt-rock idol Edwyn Collins’ comeback from a stroke is about traps and escape, illness and recovery. Collins was alone in lockdown. Following his stroke he lost his memory and his ability to speak. This film, directed by James Hall and Edward Lovelace, shows him fighting to re-enter the world, to build a link between what he was before calamity and what he became afterwards.

It’s shot mostly around the Scottish coastal village of Helmsdale, one of the singer’s favourite places. Hall and Lovelace cut disjointed snatches of Collins’s speech – “Start again”, “Striving to think”, “It’s not clear enough yet” – with footage of the roaring coastline. It’s a wilderness out there. It’s a wilderness in his head.

But, amid the noise, panic and confusion, a new way of life slowly starts to emerge. Collins mutters a mantra to help focus his abstracted mind. In these crazy times I’ve been concentrating on the positive, and I’ve borrowed his mantra. I walk around my house, thinking of the future, repeating this film’s title.

Henry Barnes
Digital Editor

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