DISTANT CONSTELLATION (director: Shevaun Mizrahi; cinematographer: Shevaun Mizrahi; editors: Shevaun Mizrahi/Shelly Grizim; Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Shelly Grizim/Deniz Buga; Grasshopper Film; 2017-some French, English, Turkish with English subtitles when needed)
“A dream-like and playful documentary that studies old age and memory.”Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzA dream-like and playful documentary that studies old age and memory. It’s the feature film debut by the Turkish-American female filmmaker Shevaun Mizrahi, raised in Massachusetts by her mother and a frequent visitor to her residing in Istanbul father. The intimate film, shot over several years and with close-ups, is set in a large retirement home in Istanbul. At the Locarno Festival it won the Jury Special Mention Award. It’s also an Independent Spirit Award nominee. The mostly colorful characters interviewed consist of foreigners, artists and elderly Casanovas. The residents share stories of their youth with the cinemaographer turned director, and show no bitterness despite some of their tales of woe. The residents were known to the filmmaker for several years, as on her visits she volunteered to help out at the government-run facility. While dealing with life and death issues, the residents observe their site is under constant construction and use those images to wonder about their future. The beautiful film of mystery and compassion is an artful reminder of the works of great filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Pedro Costa. Though the subject-matter might not grab your attention at first, the film will in the end. It is compelling for both its simplicity and complexity, and the way it so deftly tells its human interest story.
REVIEWED ON 10/12/2018 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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