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Denmark, 1993 (MIFF 1994, Documentaries)

Director: Jon Bang Carlsen

This is a beautifully executed film about life, dreams, homeland, journeys and the told through the letters of a mother in Denmark, as her son travels across the open plains and deserts of the USA.

The use of light and colour are strong elements underlying the contrasting landscapes of the traveller and his homeland, and the apparently simple but effective framings perfectly complement the gentle rhythmic pace of this film.

Some may describe this film as being in the 'personal/diary' genre of documentary films; perhaps this is so because it evokes similar feelings to that of Chris Marker's 1980s film Sunless. But regardless of the genre, we become privileged eavesdroppers in discovering the depth of the relationship between a mother and her son.

In describing his film, Jon Bang Carlsen says "Shortly after my mother's death I decided to make a film about her. Like a true mother's boy I thought that I could draw a portrait of my mother on the blackboard, blindfolded. She was more than anything else the place I came from. But the more I looked at her person, the more blurred she became, as if she had decided to take all her reflections on this earth with her on her journey to the other side. Then I started to read her letters..."

Life Will Be Lived is without a doubt one of the most interesting and enjoyable films at this year's Festival and should not be missed. It is a fine example of what documentary filmmaking can be.

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