I am He, He is me,
if You only knew
He is another you
- Dylan Olsen
"I am another you" is a documentary about 22 year old Dylan Olsen, living on streets in Florida, a situation he has apparently chosen and is content with. Dylan is articulate and charismatic. Passers-by often engage and help him, in contrast with the treatment of other indigents. The Chinese documentary-maker Nanfu Wang is fascinated by Dylan and by his absolute freedom, a contrast with her experiences growing up in a repressive China. However all is not as it seems.
I loved this documentary when I first saw it on PBS, sitting in solitude in a business hotel on a recent trip to Ottawa. I watched it again last Friday with my family - it's available on Amazon Prime - and it sparked several dinner conversations between us. It's a story of freedom, of the implications that can come from simple decisions, and of mental illness. My eldest son pointed out that it's also a story of how fathers and sons relate to each other and, worryingly, that's true too.
I hope for the best for Dylan wherever he is now but, typically, I fear for the worst.