Heddy Honigmann's (Dame la Mano) mesmerising tour of artists' graves in Paris' Père-Lachaise cemetery eschews morbidity for a moving celebration of art and the human spirit.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Dutch documentary maker Heddy Honigmann (Dame la Mano) takes us on a mesmerising tour of artists’ graves in Paris’ famous Père-Lachaise cemetery, but what could have been a morbid exploration of dead icons becomes instead a moving celebration of the living. Honigmann follows the men and women who make pilgrimages to the cemetery, unearthing their sometimes sad, sometimes uplifting stories. There are those who come to tend the graves of their loved ones – lost husbands, wives and parents – and those who leave offerings for their favourite writers and musicians – Chopin, Proust, Ingres and Jim Morrison. Occasionally, we follow these pilgrims home, or to work. There is the young embalmer who finds inspiration for his difficult work in the art of Modigliani and three blind friends who explain their devotion to the film Les Diaboliques – despite the fact that none of them has ever seen it. A beautiful and inspiring film that illuminates the hidden strengths of the human spirit – its ability to endure death and find solace in art, love and life.