How Do You Measure a Year? (2021) - full transcript

From the time she was two-years-old and until she turned 18, they had a ritual: Dad asked (and filmed), and Ella answered. What do you dream about? What scares you? What do you think about our relationship? This is a little story ... - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food

Sit here. Okay. I want you to sit up
for a second. I'm going to ask you a

few questions, okay?

My birthday coming up. Right now?

My birthday coming up today?

Today is your birthday.

It's my birthday.

And how old are you?

Two years old.


Oh yeah.




Test, test, test, test, test, test, test.

Testing one, two, three.

Is today your birthday?


Not two months old.

Two months old, it's little.

I think now.


I want you to ask another question, okay?


What do you want to do?


Ella, can I ask you a question?

How do you feel about our
relationship, you and me?

It's good. That's not good.

It feels good?


It feels good to me too.

The reason, my favorite food is a treat.

And what's your favorite treat?


What do you want to do when you grow up?
Do you know?

Put on makeup and eat gum.

Is that all you want to do?

Is there anything you
want to do when you

grow up in terms of
the kind of work you do?

I want to put makeup on.

What are dreams?

Dreams are when you see alligators
climbing all over you and bite them.

What is power? Do you know what power is?


You have no idea what power?
What does the word power mean?

It's for this.

For what?

For vaginas.

That's what power means to you?



Just leave that alone. You don't have
to touch that. Don't worry about that.

Don't touch it. Please don't touch it.

No, it's not good.
I'm going to have to take it off then.

Take it off?

Are we done yet?

Let's talk about two other things.

No. I'm too tired.

What would you like to do when you grow up?

But first I need to have my lollipop.

I want to be a grown-up when I grow up.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Um, be a mommy.

What are you most afraid of?

Dragons and monsters.

What is power?

I don't know.

What do you think it means?
What does power mean?

Power means... I don't know.

Feel my muscles.

See, they're big.


I have another question for you.


What are dreams?

I know what dreams are.
You sleep and think at the same time.

What are nightmares?

Um, you think something is happening
when it's dark, but it's not really


I'm too bored.

Why are you so bored?

Because I'm not fun.

What's not fun?


You keep wanting to get older and older.

How come you're in a hurry?

Because I'm gonna grow up.

Don't you like being four?

No, I like being five.

I used to be four, but now I'm five.

This is the last time
I even have to say it.

Goodbye, goodbye, my own self-five.

Hello, hello, my own self-five.

I don't like when I go to bed at
nighttime, because sometimes I think when

you guys leave me alone,

it looks like witches are
peeking out of the door like this.

I know what they mean, the side of
the door holding the hand on it, and I'm

looking like that.

And that's what I'm afraid of.

What's your favorite thing that you eat?

Sweets. You eat sweets.

What sweets are you favorite?

Um, lollipops.

Because, you know, sometimes I grab
a stick with the lollipop with the ball

on it, you know what I mean?

And I bite this, I
pull it off with my

teeth, the ball, and
then I chew on it.

That's how it makes it food.

And there's also juice when I chew on it.

How do you feel about me and you?

I like being together.

You do?


We don't need that.

I talk loud!

I talk very, very loud!




How would you use the word in a sentence?

I'm powerful.

What are nightmares?

They're scary dreams.

What are dreams?

Not scary nightmares.

Tell me what you're most afraid of.



No, seriously.

Are you really most afraid of me?

Why'd you say that?

I don't know.

It's okay.

I don't know what I mean.

Are you afraid of me at all?

You are?

Like, wow.

I don't know.

You scare me.


I don't want to answer that.

What is your favorite thing in life?

My birthday.




My eyes?

Daddy, my eyes?

I want to be a singer.

A singer?

And make films.



They can kill you.

They bite you and they can kill you.

Are you afraid of being killed?

Not exactly.

What do you like most in life?

My life.

Friends and family.

And Hannah Montana.

I want to have a cat.

A kitten.

And more friends.

A cat, a kitten, and more friends.

I want to be more...

Excited about today.

Okay, that's good.
So you're not that excited?

I'm not excited, but I want
to be excited and I'm not.


Last year was the best year ever.

It was?

What was the best thing
that happened last year?

I liked Hannah Montana and I got into it.

You got into that? How do you like that?

What was one of the things
you didn't like about last year?

You didn't let me watch Hannah Montana.


My name is Ella and
I'm training eight today.

To be smart.

Okay. Do you feel you are?


So you have what you want?

But I want to be smarter.

You're good.

I want to be on TV.

You do?

Yes, I do.

You want... Singing.

You want to sing on TV?


Well, I don't have to be on television,
but yeah, I want to be singing.

You want to be singing. And why?

I love to sing.

She said whoever could memorize

dormi-frasolati dough
forwards and backwards

would get a treat.

And I could... I can do it.

And she gave me a treat.

You want to do it?

Okay. Dormi-frasolati
dough dough tilasofami reido.


Five hundred twenty-five
thousand six hundred minutes.

How do you measure her?

Measure her year.

How would you describe yourself?





Peaceful sometimes.



And... Kind.


Most of the time. A lot.

What's the most important thing to you?

My family.

Does my dog count as my family?
And my friends?


I'm afraid of being different, not
fitting in and being made fun of.

Are you a popular kid?


I want to use the time that I have
doing things that matter to me.

I think power can also not have something
to do with like physical, like how

strong you are, but
also how brave you are

if you're willing to
stand up for someone.

What do you want to say to
your older self? So imagine

yourself like twenty-one or
twenty-five. What would you like...

What would the nine-year-old
Ella like to say to your older self?

I hope that you'll be alive by
the time I look at this, right?

I hope so.

If my dad's alive, I hope by the
time you see this that you'll still be

filming me on my birthday.

You'll still be filming
yourself, which is

me, on my... I'm
talking to myself, right?


On my birthday.

Here's my dad.


All the single ladies, all the single
ladies, all the single ladies, all the

single ladies, now put your hands
up, up in the club club, just broke up up,

doing my own little thing.

Be an artist or be a comedian.

To be a good person and
learn, but not be perfect.

Let's talk about you and me for a second.
Any feelings, thoughts about our



It's time to try defying gravity.
Kiss me goodbye after defying gravity, and

you won't bring me down.

Who's this?

This is my dog.


Bye. See you next year.

What are you most afraid of?


I'm afraid of living.

Because there's twists and turns that
you don't expect, and it can be rough.

And I don't want to go through that.

I couldn't tell you
for sure, but if I had

to think off the spot,
I would probably...

...animal rights activist.

Power is being able to stand
up for what you believe in.

Power is being yourself.
That takes a lot of power.

Our relationship has been tough
this past year. I think it's gotten worse

the past few months.

Well, actually not worse, just a little
more difficult, because we've been

fighting a lot.

I don't know. But we always make up
and forgive each other in the end, so I

feel pretty good about it.

What does your 11-year-old self
want to say to your 25-year-old self?

Hi. You probably sound like a real
dork right now, because you're going to

think I'm much cooler than I am right now.

And I hope that
you still like you, or

I still like me, or
whatever you'd say.

Hi. How are you? My name is E-L-L-A.
I love sign language, but I'm not deaf.

I'm a crazy, funny, weird 12-year-old
girl who just is experiencing life.

I think I want... that's so hard.
If what I like to do now is what I like to

do when I grow up,

then I want to either work
with animals, sing, or do art.

We fight a lot, but
that's just because

that's what people
do. They fight. I.

don't know what to say.

I need people to love me, and I need
to love them back, and I need support,


Time stands still, beauty in all she is.
I will be brave, I will not let

anything take
away, but standing in

front of me every
breath... Oh, nevermind.

Can you talk about this past
year and some of the highlights?

I became a vegan. I... that's
like the biggest thing, and

I had my bat mitzvah last
week. It's just a good life.

What does a good life mean to you?

To be loved and happy
and live, like actually live.

What would that mean to actually live?

Just don't...
I don't know, take risks and be yourself.

Why do you think we fight so much?

Because we disagree, because like...
I don't know, I don't know, just like

the same reason anybody fights.

Let's say you're 25 year old, so if
you're watching this in 12 years, what

would you like to say?

Like why would you want to
watch this, I guess? I don't...

this is... I don't see why
I'd want to watch this, so...

What do you like most in life?


Can you tell me some
other things that you like?

You said "most", which means one thing.

Can you tell me a few
things you like in your life?

I don't know.

Which means one thing.

Can you tell me a few
things you like in your life?

Netflix, my phone, laughing, and sleeping.

The most important thing is to be happy.

Are you happy?

Not really.

But I'm working on it.


Yeah, if you like
start already... I am

starting, I'm gonna
get the questions out.

Did you add any stupid ones?

There's no like one thing, I just
enjoy activities that make me or the

people around me happy.

And I think that's nice, and I like
anything like involving animals, and I

like hanging out with my family sometimes.

Well, it's not really like a highlight
or a low point, but it's just like a

new experience was
like going into high school.

And the work was definitely like a
challenge, but I met like so many great

people who now I like consider
my best friends and who like...

I've been in so many parts of my
life, and it's just weird that I've only

known them for like what like five
months because it feels like it's been a

lot longer.

And just like changed
who I am like having

these people like
with me. It's like...

been good.

I'm afraid that like somebody like
really important to me is gonna die.

Not like anyone specific, but like
that would just be like really bad.

And I don't like want to deal with that.


Any feelings about turning 16?

No, I don't know why everyone thinks...
I don't... I think it's really

arbitrary. I get 18 or
21. There's like things

that come with it, but I
don't really understand.

Can we just go a little faster after this?


Okay. The things I like most in
life are my friends, family, and TV.

In that order?


What order?

Family, friends, TV.

Okay, I'm glad TV wasn't first.

Depends on the day.

I need to be happy.

Or just like not
that I'm not, but I...

or I need to even
when I'm sad, like.

see the benefit in it.

Like I want all my emotions to make sense.

Thank you for doing
this each year. I know.

I know it's a bit
of a drag of times.

No, it's not. It's
more just because

I'm just stressed out
about the program.

Yeah, I know, but then each year
there's something and I understand it.

Was there?

They're just... I'm sorry.

Sorry, but I don't want you to
think it's a burden because I'm really

grateful that we do this.

No, I understand. I'm just so happy
that you agreed to do it. And like I

said, I think my feeling is that
we'll probably go to your 18.


I really feel sick. I don't think a
caffeine agrees with me. My head hurts.

I'm sorry.

It's okay. Can we start?

Yeah, we're going to start.

Okay, let's start.
Oh my God, I look so bad.

Why you so obsessed with me?
Boy, I want to know.

You should have done it every year
where you also had me stand so you could

just see what I looked like as a
whole person instead of just my face.

Sometimes just in my life being my
age and you know what I'm doing where I

am, I feel like I don't have power.

And, um, but I do feel like in other
ways I do. I feel like I have friends

and family who listen to me and
respect me and that's a form of power or

like agency in some way.

And I feel like my
education and my

knowledge gives me
power and opportunity.

No, say that again. I can't.

Every year me and dad film together.

Oh yes, for your birthday.

Yeah, so that's what we're just doing.

Oh, so that's what you were doing.


That's nice. That's really nice. Beautiful.




And it's breaking my
heart, you're leaving me.

You beat me.

Now that I've answered everything to you.

So what do you think of this birthday
ritual that we've done for the past 17

years ever since you were two years old?

I love it. I love rituals, like in general.
I love, I love traditions. Like

just for myself.
And this one's really nice.

What do you love about it?

Just like I love seeing how when you
Mark something annually you can see the

way it stays the same
or changes and I like that.

Yeah, I mean it's sad. It shows, it's
like in addition to me moving out, in

addition to me going to college,
it's another reminder that things are

changing, that this tradition's ending.

You don't like how it is?

No, I like how we do it. I love that
we do this. I love it. But I think I'm

not putting this on you. I'm putting
this on me. I think my questions are

really not great.

So I just thought maybe this last
one, you want to talk about something a.

little more deeper, intimate.

I just love you a lot.


I'll miss you when I go to college.

I'm really glad you do these kinds of
things, these traditions. It makes me

really happy and just reminds me
how much you love me, but I don't really

need a reminder because you show
it a lot in everything that you do for me.


I'm not leaving yet.

I know.
















measure a year.