Finding the words to describe how inherently affecting Brett Chapman’s documentary is seems to be a mission impossible. From the first second of the film, in which we’re introduced to his grandmother, a woman wholly inflicted by mouth tremors, to the very last, Greta demonstrates many of the stark realities of growing old and losing those we hold dearest. The underlying value however, comes from the very significance held by retrospection and its importance in defining your own life.
Imagined initially as a silent montage of Greta’s quotidian daily routine for a music video, Chapman decided to develop and progress into full documentary short when he realised that despite acknowledging his relative’s many stories, that he’d perhaps never really sat down and properly listened to them. It’s a highly relatable trait in that we all take for granted the stories and tales that we’re told by our family, but more often than not never truly accept them as innately valuable experiences. There’s a horrid tendency in life to try and class retrospection and nostalgia as negative attributes borne of longing for a past that ceases to be with every second. However, the adept amongst us will understand that we can use these familial accounts in order not just to better know our own kin but to improve, elongate and accentuate our own lives.
Greta recounts the moment she realised her husband had died in a fashion belonging to someone acceptant of death yet never forgetful of life. Her husband, as all family does, meant an immense deal to her personally, and the ramifications of which were her living alone without the constant support of a companion. Lamentably, it’s a tragic tale of life in that when we grow older we lose those we hold dear, but through this stoic woman we grasp the very concept that we try to evade and wash away every day, which is that fundamentally we are not indestructible. Yet, despite the very crudeness and oft simplicity of life, Chapman’s documentary still reminds us that there is much to be proud of, whether through the mention of a loved one passed or flicking through collections of old, worn-out photographs.