Monday, 27 October 2014

I haven't been to the cinema for weeks, if not months - but I was completely engrossed tonight by this many-layered film, not a new one, but from 2003. It is about grief and shame; it is an elegy for the dead, at the same time as being an irresistible journalistic coup; it is about voyeurism and the ownership of stories and much more.
The story behind it became part of Emmanuel Carrère's memoir/novel My Life as a Russian Novel. I vaguely remember reading reviews of this when it was published; yet another book on my must-read-soon list ... will I ever catch up with myself? Kotelnitch is a small, dead-end  town on the Trans-Siberian railway. Carrère's initial visit was to tell the story of one of the last forgotten prisoners of WW2 who had languished for 55 years in a psychiatric hospital. He returned to make a documentary about the town, and then again to tell the story of a young woman - his interpreter - who was brutally murdered. And somehow, along the way, he found himself confronting the story of his own grandfather, a collaborator in Occupied France who had vanished without trace after the liberation.
Emmanuel Carrère was there tonight, taking questions. The central characters in his film are mostly still alive, still grieving and destroyed by the events he recounts.


Cosy Books said...

Sounds both fascinating and horrific...not an easy night.

mary said...

Not a feelgood movie, Darlene!