Future//Present – Maison du bonheur
$12 General Admission
** Director Sofia Bohdanowicz in attendance! **
VIFF’s 2016 Emerging Canadian Director award recipient Sofia Bohdanowicz returns to directing with this lively documentary. Asked to make a film about her friend’s mother, a Parisian astrologer named Juliane, the director sets off for Montmartre and crafts a lovingly made portrait of an infectiously exuberant personality and the lovely pre-war apartment she’s called home for 50 years.
Shooting on 16mm with a vibrant colour palette, Bohdanowicz imbues the simplest objects and activities with resonance and meaning. Juliane tells the story of falling for her late husband, and how he taught her how to read astrological charts — in one charming scene she even gives the director a reading — but mostly Bohdanowicz focuses on her subject’s everyday life: how she spends her mornings, where she gets her hair and nails done, what she bakes and cooks and, most importantly, how those rituals connect her to family and tradition. Maison du bonheur is a sensitive look at how the meaning of life hides in plain sight amidst quotidian details, and it serves as a reminder that the way we construct our daily lives can itself be an art.
“The film’s repetition allows it to explore the ritual of our relationships, both with ourselves (eating, preparing food) and with others (reading old letters to a granddaughter, trying on a grandmother’s clothes). Bohdanowicz’s quiet precision and her interest in cross-generation relationships among female family members inevitably recalls the work of the late Belgian director Chantal Akerman…” – Nathan Smith, Knoxville Mercury