Death, Dying & the Power of Creativity

"We can measure the temperature but not how long you'll stay. We can describe the distant sky, but not what's apparent to you. We can call upon the dead to help you across, but not with any certainty..."  – Beau Riley

A lush and lyrical film built around a poem which San Francisco poet and artist Beau Riley wrote as his lover of twelve years lay dying, the film shows one man plumbing the depths of his sorrow to find meaning through the strength of his mind, imagination, and devotion to his partner. Through his powerful poetry, paintings, and testimony, Beau draws a moving portrait of love between two people, each crippled in his own way: David, a paraplegic; Beau, a recovering alcoholic. They find healing and wholeness through one another, have to let go, and help each other in their own ways "cross over" to the other side.

In sharing this personal story, HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS can help us all approach the mystery and sorrow of great loss. A powerful elegy of hope and transcendence, the film is less a tragic story than a triumphant tribute to living life fully, with mindfulness, compassion and creativity. It shows what survives and transcends even death--the unbounded power of spirit and imagination. As Beau contemplates his own mortality, his legacy is to find the magic in the most difficult of life's journey and, from this palate, create an art of remembrance, forgiveness, and moving on.  (1995, 28 min.)

Stunning!...the most eloquent expression of spirituality in the dying process ever captured on screen.
— Bobb Goldsteinn, writer/critic

Andy Abrahams Wilson

Artwork and Poetry
Beau Riley

CINE Golden Eagle Award

Best Film
Western Psychological Association Film Festival