Forever

"Very Good"

Forever Review


In Heddy Honigmann's meditative and measured Forever, her touching tone poem to Paris's famed Père-Lachaise cemetery, the camera picks up a bit of graffiti that reads, "The Artists are Sad; Comfort Them." The artists buried in Père-Lachaise are a veritable who's who of high art and literature -- Frèdèric Chopin, Marcel Proust, Guilliaume Apollinaire, Amadeo Modigliani, Sadegh Hedayat, and like Georges Mèliès, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, and Jim Morrison. And there are many people who come to the cemetery to comfort them, mostly in the Blind Lemon Jefferson mode, to see that their graves are kept clean and also to contemplate the art that they have left behind.

Honigmann opens the film with Père-Lachaise as a peaceful valley of solace from reality with the sounds of chirping birds and feet on gravel paths and shots of epitaphs, people cleaning graves, the elderly in canes walking to grave sites, lovers making out on a bench, women filling up water bottles to refresh the flowers, and another woman feeding the birds. But then a woman asks the way to Jim Morrison's grave, and Honigmann shoots a beautiful young Asian woman sedately applying flowers to Chopin's memorial and the film explores its theme, which Honigmann boldly states to a mourner: "I am making a film about the importance of art in life."

Honigmann centers her film on several of the mourners -- Yoshino Kimura, the mourner at the Chopin grave and an aspiring concert pianist; Stephane Heuet, a lover of Proust whose writings inspired him to draw a graphic novel version of À la recherche du temps perdu; Reza Khoddam, a taxi driver whose devotion to Iranian writer Hadayat encouraged him to seek his artistic release in singing traditional Persian folk music; and David Pouly, an embalmer influenced by Modigliani. It is when Honigmann interviews these passionate artists that Forever soars, for it is not so much about the cemetery of dead artists so much as the dead artists' art and how it lives on after the creators have turned to dust.

Heuet tells Honigmann that he came onto Proust late after 35 years of life and that his life experience made him understand Proust for the first time. Honigmann prods Khoddam to sing, and when he does it is beautiful. Most moving of all is Kimura, whose love of Chopin came to her after the sudden death of her father, who also loved Chopin. Kimura is not very verbal about why she loves Chopin except to say that she plays Chopin as a tribute to her father, but when, at the end of the film, she appears in concert, Honigmann films her in tight close-up and as she plays, her love and passion for the music we now know proving beyond mere words.

Beyond the celebrities, Forever becomes melancholy and sad for the others buried in Père-Lachaise. Women come to mourn their husbands. Mothers come to mourn their daughters. A tour guide at Père-Lachaise tries to keep the lamp burning for the forgotten. He visits the grave of a woman who died in her early twenties, a young singer on the verge of success. Most movingly, he visits the grave of a girl whose tomb has fallen into disrepair. The young girl wrote poetry and the mother had the poetry inscribed on the girl's tomb. But now it is abandoned and the poetry is fading away.

The celebrated artists will always live on, but the artists that never were will vanish along with their undiscovered art and that is the real tragedy of Forever. As the tour guide remarks, "Death is everywhere except at a cemetery. Here it has to be hidden. If we were to show the true nature of cemeteries, it would be unbearable."

The DVD includes an interview with Honigmann conducted by film critic John Anderson.

Jim was here.



Forever

Facts and Figures

Run time: 43 mins

In Theaters: Monday 22nd September 2014

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Heddy Honigmann

Producer: Carmen Cobos

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.