A Filmmaker's Grand Plan...Undone By Love

Spiritual Cinema Circle

Five years ago I came across the book Life before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives by Jim B. Tucker, a child psychiatrist who studies children who seem to remember past lives. I was raised Catholic, therefore I always rejected the concept of reincarnation. However, the author was a notable psychiatrist and that caught my attention. The more I learned about reincarnation, the more I inadvertently became less scared of death and of losing my loved ones. I fell in love with the concept that our souls never cease to exist, and therefore, we are never born and we never die. I began to wonder: what if we do reincarnate, what if soulmates do exist, and what if the love between two people could survive death and the time in between? The idea of timeless love inspired me to write I Remember You.

Are human beings more than physical bodies, or is the soul an intangible function of the human brain? Can the human consciousness survive death? These are questions that I am fascinated by and that we might never get a conclusive answer for. And yet data that supports the hypothesis of reincarnation has been gathered and investigated for centuries. I was surprised to find out that many distinguished scientists and doctors have dedicated their careers to the study of past lives. In order to best present this concept, it was important to present the story from an objective point of view.

LEAH, the main character in the story, is a scientist whose beliefs are strictly based on facts, so that when she is confronted with the possibility of her own reincarnation, the world as she knows it collapses. Leah is suddenly forced to consider the existence of events that science is unable to justify. As a research scientist desperately trying to find new cures and treatments for cancer, Leah gains a new perspective on life and death, and opens up her mind to the possibility that someone’s lost battle with cancer might only be the end of life as she knows it, not life lost forever.

In developing the story of I Remember You, my intention is not to prove a theory, but rather to explore it. I am still skeptical about reincarnation, but I would like to believe that we will have the opportunity to live more than once, and that we can share many lifetimes with our loved ones. Regardless of one’s beliefs, I think that it is important to be reminded that there is more to our physical bodies that we still do not understand.

By following Leah and Samuel’s journey, two opposite characters at a first glance, I hope to portray the idea that maybe love could bond two people eternally and reunite them in their next life, again and again.

When You Least Expect It

When I arrived in Los Angeles on 2005, I was sure that I would direct movies and if I was good enough, maybe one day I would win an Oscar. I had arrived in Hollywood determined to become a film director. I had just graduated from college and I was about to start my first real job. I was twenty-one years old and I had left my family, friends, country and culture behind to be where I was.

While I was getting ready to go to work that morning, I went over my imaginary life schedule. I had a plan for everything, absolutely everything except for falling in love. Being in a serious relationship wasn’t for me. I had it crystal clear: All I wanted to do was to make films.

With all the anxiety of the first day, that first Monday “he” welcomed me to the office. My boss had already introduced us during my interview and we had shaken hands briefly; he was the editor and I would be his assistant. At a first glance he seemed kind, but a bit distant. The girl from the office next door had already warned me, ‘he is extremely good-looking, but full of himself.’ However, that morning of my first day, he welcomed me with a big smile and made me a cup of coffee. Standing in the kitchen, I answered his many questions confused. I couldn’t stop thinking that – as his assistant – it was me who should probably be making him coffee. Because of his stare, I was convinced that he could see how little I had managed to sleep the night before due to all the excitement. Anyway, he was funny and I started to warm up to him. When he asked me my age, I dared to ask him his. He was twenty-three, but like me, he was an old soul. Staring at him face to face I not only realized that the girl next door was right – he was incredibly attractive - but also that we shared the same passion: Film.

He reassured me that I wasn’t his assistant, but his colleague, and he treated me as such. Working together so closely – and for more than fifty hours a week – it was impossible not to admire his talent, dedication, and the extreme care that he put into everything that he did. Besides teaching me about video editing, he and I could talk about movies for hours. When I showed him the thesis film that I made in college, he immediately called his best friend to tell him how fascinating he thought my film was. Since then to him I was ‘Claudia the filmmaker,’ and I liked thinking that he admired my work. I couldn’t believe how much we had in common.

Once, after one intense day at work, he convinced me to go with him to ‘The Well,’ his favorite bar in Hollywood. That night he told me about his European parents, his childhood in the Caribbean, his studies in a boarding school in Massachusetts, about how he had decided to work instead of going to college, the problems that decision had caused him between his parents, and about how he had arrived in Los Angeles with almost no money. Sitting next to each other in silence I couldn’t ignore it, there was magic between us.

‘The Well’ soon became our shelter post work. We both were seeing other people at the time, so knowing that a romantic relationship was out of the question, we were able to develop a close friendship. He was someone to whom I could talk to about everything and I felt that no one had ever understood me as well as he did, and no one could understand him like I did. Our chemistry was so strong that one night he stared at me for a long time and asked me if it was possible that we had met before. It was clear that we hadn’t, so he then suggested that we must have met in a different life, one in which we were probably siblings. I laughed at his suggestion but I couldn’t’ help, but wonder.

One afternoon talking to my Mom and my sister on the phone, they asked me about my boyfriend at the time. I told them that my boyfriend was fine. And then, without thinking, as if the words came straight out of my soul, I told them that it was actually “he” -- my co-worker –- the one who I would marry one day. The three of us went silent, but I was the most disturbed of all. Marry? What had just come out of my mouth? The idea of marriage had never crossed my mind, and least of all with him with whom the possibility of even a casual relationship was non-existent.

Shortly, a new job opportunity came my way and I decided to take it. He still would call me to go to ‘The Well’ from time to time. I loved hanging out with him and seeing that despite not working together, our friendship hadn’t changed. The problem was that he was more than a friend to me. The truth is that I had fallen in love and I couldn’t change that back. I was so convinced that he would only see me as a friend.

One night of March 2006, he and I agreed to meet at our beloved bar. That night he told me that he had broken up with his girlfriend. Without telling him, I had also recently broken up with my boyfriend. That night we talked about our exes, my mixed feelings about LA, his nostalgia for Massachusetts, about our fears, wishes, the ideas that kept us up at night, about our impossible dreams, about everything that life had given us, but also taken away. We were the same friends and confidants as before and yet that night was different. We could no longer ignore the magic. That night at ‘The Well’ words were pointless; our inexplicable, supernatural connection had taken over the bar. When it was time to say good-bye he walked me to my car, hugged me as usual. However, this time, he couldn’t let me go and I couldn’t either. We haven’t been able to be apart ever since that night.

Many dates later, he confessed to me that he had felt the magic all along, since that first morning at the office when he made me a cup of coffee.

On a day like today August 17th, we celebrate our nine-year wedding anniversary. I’m lucky to share each day with the love of my life and my best friend. The unique connection that I experienced with him from the beginning ultimately inspired me to make my film I Remember You.

It’s now more than ten years since that night at The Well, but to this date when he and I sit together in silence, there’s still magic.