We all have those memories. Scattered, yet highly vivid images in your brain that make you sound crazy when attempting to explain them to another person. Other people will shake your head and tell you that what you’re remembering was probably just a dream. This happens particularly often when you’re a writer and everyone around you already knows your imagination can go over the top!
For years I have been obsessed with finding a film I remember from my childhood. It’s not a happy film I’ll give you that; but it drove me insane when people would suggest I was making the whole thing up! I would recall a little orphan girl in a red dress spending the film telling people that when you die you become a shooting star. Then, as all film lovers will know, the film ends with this one repeated line becoming reality. I remember a rich old man who had adopted the girl coming into the room and asking another child where the girl had gone, the child then looks up and the camera pans past a candle to the skylight where we see a shooting star go past.
I think what possibly threw people off is that I claimed this was a version of Annie. I was very young when I had watched this film and I think the orphan girl in a red dress being adopted by a rich old man just screamed Annie to me. This obsession is probably what has prevented me from being successful when I’ve searched for the film over the years.
I had of course accepted that I may have been wrong in thinking I was looking for a version of Annie, yet my searches had still fallen flat until recently… It was a total accident that I found the film of course, because all my formal attempts had always fallen flat. I was doing some research into Hans Christian Anderson and I came across the short story The Little Match Girl. The story is an incredibly sad tale of a homeless girl who is dying in the street and having visions of comforting things as she passes. One of these visions, is her grandmother telling her that shooting stars are people on their way to Heaven.
This line immediately caught my attention and I began my research into the story. I quickly found a number of versions of the film, each one just as sad, yet beautiful, as the last. Eventually, I came across the 1987 version on YouTube and skipped right to the end of the film where I was able to watch the scene that has been so heavily carved into my mind for so long.
I have to admit that however happy I am to have found the film, there is a tiny bit of loss within me to have passed such a long standing challenge for myself. At least I have the brain space to find something new now! (Currently thinking about a book I read years ago that I want to find!) It may be a Christmas film but it’s so charming I’m sure you would love it- especially if you’re a fan of Annie 😉 . I’ve posted the film below so feel free to watch yourself and share how it made you feel with me!
In the mean time, are there any films/books you have memories of but are unable to find? I’m happy to try and aid you in your search if you post what you remember in the comments!