Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Honigman's Forever

For me, the viewing highlight of HotDocs was Heddy Honigmann's Forever.

As well, it was great that, despite an announcement that she was exhausted and unable to come to the screening, she dragged herself in at the end to take questions from the audience.

The film centers on Père Lachaise Cemetary and the visitors who come to it to connect to the artists, writers and musicians who are buried there. (Despite a few joking references to "Jim," the film avoids Morrison's grave, instead finding its subjects in the fans of Chopin, Modigliani, et al.)

I would love to see this again, since it is one of the best viewing experiences I've had all year, but also to try to understand its structure. The material of the film is amazing, but the real achievement here is how to make a film that takes place in a cemetary -- with a few side trips into the lives of the cemetary visitors -- into a compelling story that moves toward a satisfying ending.

I often claim that the reason I'm interested in Documentary film is that the material is essentially richer than fiction -- and I think this film may work as Exhibit A for that argument.

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