Op-Doc: ‘How Does Life Live?’


By Pat Mullen

“Kids are endlessly curious and ask about how life works, the ineffable mystery of it, all the time,” writes Toronto filmmaker Kelly O’Brien at the New York Times. “Their questions reflect that time between innocence and experience as they try to figure out who they are in relation to the world around them.”

O’Brien’s daughter Willow is the central inquisitor of the beautiful new short doc How Does Life Live?. This fun, personal, and contemplative doc appears as one of the Op-Docs at the New York Times that lets opinionated filmmakers, and sometimes their kids, question the world around them.

The film sees O’Brien’s daughters Willow and Emma play with carefree innocence as their mother records their fun with a Bolex camera. Willow repeats her frequent questions in voiceover as her mom points out all the humorous thoughts that fly through kids’ minds at the early years. As the film progresses, the questions deepen and repeat, much like they do as we age. (I still wonder why trees just stand there… don’t they ever need to move their legs?)

Read more about O’Brien’s work Softening and Postings from Home, and watch How Does Life Live? below: