Amid the tombstones of Paris' Pere-Lachaise cemetery, Heddy Honigmann finds the everlasting life of artists through their art


on September 12, 2007 by Sara Schieron
Internationally revered documentarian Heddy Honigmann lends her voice to this heartbreakingly beautiful exposition on the enduring nature of art that takes place almost entirely in the famous Pere-Lachaise cemetery.

Honigman interviews many who visit to leave souvenirs and tidy the gravestones of famous artists such as Frederic Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Simone Signoret and Marcel Proust. She follows some of these patrons back to their homes, where she sees the artists live on in their fans. A pianist explains how each Chopin piece she performs is like a dedication to her recently deceased father. Three blind people allow Honigmann to film their cinema club, where they screen Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diabolique and help each other interpret the plot and comment upon the artistry. An illustrator shows her his graphic novelization of Proust's In Search of Lost Time . He explains Proust's Madeleines explains an experience that transcends the bounds of memory to bring one face-to-face with a moment long past. Each sequence is more poetic than the next, and always Honigmann is present, prompting the interviewees to expose their bonds with these artists' works.

But it is not solely art fans who frequent the cemetery. Honigmann also interviews widows and family members who come to chat graveside with their deceased loved ones. In these scenes, the cemetery takes on the reverence of sacred space. Wives explain their love for their departed husbands, whom they say will never be lonely because they are buried near Jim Morrison. The inclusion of these mourners reminds us that love for art is not simply carried on by the living but handed down by each person open enough to experience the world through the eyes of another.

Forever has the living, breathing quality of an organism. Ones does not simply view this film; ones lives it, just as profoundly and in such perpetuity as one would live a piece by Chopin, a performance by Signoret or one perpetual, overwhelming madeleine.
Distributor: No distributor set
Cast: Yoshino Kimura, Stephane Heuet, Valerie Bajou, Bertrand Beyern and the voice of Heddy Honnigmann
Director: Heddy Honigmmann
Screenwriters: Heddy Honigmann, Ester Gold and Judith Vreriks
Producers: Carmen Cobos
Genre: Documentary; French-language, subtitled
Rating: Not yet rated
Running time: 95 min.
Release date: TBD
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