Reverend Wilson Snowley mourns his wife and is losing his faith. Watching his congregation dwindle and under pressure from Bishop Thomas Sherlock to fill the church coffers, Wilson numbs himself with drink. Helen Hessel is a successful medium by trade. But behind her smiling persona hides a desperate and lonely woman. Plagued by her spirit guide, the foul mouthed, football obsessed Brenda, Helen dreams of the warmth of a real human relationship. Every weekend Helen passes on messages from beloved dead ancestors to packed rooms above rural Lancashire pubs. Needing a more permanent venue she tours the local area in search of alternatives. One day Wilson discovers Helen peering in through the church hall window and though evasive about her needs Wilson offers the hall to Helen and gets a stay of execution from the Bishop. It doesn’t take Wilson long to discover Helen’s unorthodox use of the hall nor Helen to discover that Wilson is hiding amongst the crowd hoping to communicate with his dead wife. Will their respective beliefs survive after a trip to Blackpool, a private a tarot card reading that speaks of love and another surprise visit from Bishop Sherlock? Even the cards can't predict.
Though a person of non-faith I have always been deeply affected by Corinthians 13-1:2. Ever since I saw the words subtitled on the screen during the final sequence of Krystov Kieslowski's 'Three Colours Blue' they have stayed with me. Kieslowski's film is one that deals with loss and at it's heart 'Mortal Coils' is treading similar ground. I was intrigued by the idea of speaking in tongues, having the gift of prophesy and understanding all mysteries and was in some way inspired by a novel by Hilary Mantell called 'Beyond Black' about a lonely Psychic. The love aspect of the passage is one that I have explored and though the surface reading initially speaks to me of Eros, it was the alternative reading, that of agape (sacrificial love) that intrigued me further and prompted the idea of a crisis of faith. By throwing these two opposing idea together, faith versus spiritualism, I wanted to explore what would evolve and hopefully offer some fresh insight into what is a truly a powerful verse.