Like so many of the most engaging contemporary filmmakers, Dominique Cabrera (b. 1957) is fascinated by the overlaps between documentary and fiction, as seen in the two films presented at the HFA in 2005—the diary film Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1997) and the fiction feature The Milk of Human Kindness (2001)—as well as in her celebrated debut The Other Shore (1997), which draws on her own experiences growing up in a French family in Algeria.
A Visiting Lecturer in Film in Harvard’s Visual and Environmental Studies Department, Cabrera returns to the HFA to present her latest theatrical feature, Folle embellie. While this period piece set during World War II marks a departure from the semi-autobiographical filmmaking with which Cabrera began her career, it is nevertheless full of the richly observed behavior that characterizes all her work and displays Cabrera’s ability to portray the ambiguous, double-sided nature of human beings.
Tonight’s program precedes by a few days the Artist Talk Cabrera will give in the Carpenter Center’s Room B-04 on Thursday, March 31 at 6pm.
Directed by Dominique Cabrera, Appearing in Person
With Jean-Pierre Léaud, Miou-Miou, Morgan Marinne
France 2004, 35mm, color, 110 min. French with English subtitles
In the summer of 1940, as German troops approach, the staff of an asylum in the French countryside tries to evacuate its patients with chaotic results. Following the former inmatess misadventures as they experience an exhilarating but also baffling, and at times dangerous, freedom Folle embellie is a captivating, often mercurial, melding of idyll and fairy tale, of light and dark. Cabrera elicits remarkable performances from her three leads: Jean-Pierre Léaud as a paranoiac who is both charismatic and tyrannical, Miou-Miou as a woman who experiences the countryside for the first time, and Morgan Marinne as her son who finds a chance at a normal life.