It’s countryside again. This time Nicholas Philibert heads for Normandy, where he 30 years ago was the direction assistant of René Allio on the film “Moi, Pierre Rivière”, a “based on a true” story about a young man who in 1835 killed his mother, sister and brother. Pierre left his memoirs that were studied and written about by French philosopher Michel Foucault – the inspiration for Allio.
Philibert goes back to see the people, who played the roles in the film. Allio wanted people from the region, so called real people, and Philibert was to find them. As he re-finds them now due to his absolutely masterly discreet, warm and interested way of making them feel confident in front of the camera.
I can not think of any European documentarist who has this sense of making beauty out of everyday life as it is being lived by us ordinary people.
What we as an audience get is therefore a multi-layered documentary essay, a reflection on Life and Death as it was interpreted so stylistically perfect in the film of René Allio, from which we see a lot of excerpts AND as it is performed and told about by the people in this countryside today.
Of course there is also a lot of wonderful film memories that are brought forward by those, who played the mother, the father, the sister, the lover – and the son, who has left the region but is found by Philibert and enters the film in the end.
A completely different film from the hands of the man behind “Etre et Avoir”, and yet it is with the same signature, from a director who believes in the image and in looking at life as a gift to be cared about.
Nicholas Philibert: Back to Normandy. France, 2007
More about the festival: http://www.cphdox.dk/d1/front.lasso