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A Film by Heddy Honigmann
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Through a leisurely tour of the world-famous Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, the final resting place for legendary writers, composers, painters and other artists from around the world, FOREVER provides an unusually poignant, emotionally powerful meditation on relations between the living and the dead, and the immortal power of art.

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During its visits to many famous graves-including those of Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, Guillaume Apollinaire, Amadeo Modigliani, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Auguste Ingres, Maria Callas, Georges Méliès, Jim Morrison, Yves Montand and Simone Signoret-FOREVER also introduces us to the Parisians and tourists who make pilgrimages to these tombs, whether to pay their respects, leave flowers or personal messages, or even to tend to the upkeep of the tombstones. The film also pays moving tribute to talented young artists who died prematurely as well as to the less celebrated deceased remembered primarily by next of kin.

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Visitors to the Père-Lachaise, including foreign tourists, a cemetery tour guide, a historian, a pianist, an illustrator, and an embalmer, share fascinating anecdotes about the deceased, and relate personal stories about the significance of the artists' work in their lives. In addition to these unusually moving interviews, FOREVER features highlights of the inspirational work of many of these renowned artists-from Callas singing "Tosca" and excerpts from the films of Méliès and Signoret to the music of Chopin, the writings of Wilde and Proust, and the paintings of Ingres and Modigliani-and demonstrates how their art has inspired and is commemorated by their devotees.

Honigmann's own artistry is also on display here, including a poetic cinematic style that conveys the melancholy beauty of the cemetery's memorial statuary and tombstones, and her ability to elicit surprisingly intimate human-interest stories from those she encounters. As a result, FOREVER will provide every viewer the opportunity to reflect on the transcendental importance of art in our lives, on our need to commune with the spirits of the departed, and perhaps on our own mortality as well.

"Highly rewarding and insightful... a visual feast for the eyes." —Daniel Kelly, DVD Verdict

"Mesmerizing and moving in its simplicity... Highly recommended for all audiences." —Christine Rigda, Library Journal

★★★ 1/2 "Elegiac, affecting... A gently touching film that is also beautifully shot, FOREVER is highly recommended." —F. Swietek, Video Librarian

"One of the purest, most moving motion pictures of the year... a poetic meditation on death, yeah, but it's also a joyful experience." —Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

"A delicate, measured work of unexpected wisdom and hope that preserves the mysteries of love, art, and memory." —Nicolas Rapold, New York Sun

"(Five out of Six Stars) Exquisite! ... How can a film about a graveyard contain so much life?... FOREVER is ultimately a meditation on the human condition and how, in the midst of grief and loss, we manage to create fragile, piercing joys." —Tom Beer, Time Out New York

"This is no somber doc about death. In exploring the life-changing, death-defying power of beauty, FOREVER turns out to be a fascinating, beautiful meditation on art." —Kelly Jane Torrance, The Washington Times

"Enchanting, lively and insightful... breathtaking cinematography." —Avi Offer, NYCMovieGuru.com

"FOREVER achieves something more resonant than a Solemn Affirmation of the Immortal Spirit of Art by virtue of Honigmann's instinct and sensitivity as an interviewer; circulating through the cemetery, she patiently extracts often staggeringly tragic-poetic backstory from its living denizens." —Nick Pinkerton, The Village Voice

"Mesmerizing... one of [Honigmann's] most accomplished and expressive works." —Deborah Young, Variety

"It is surprising that a film about a cemetery should end up being a celebration of life, but that's what the magic of intelligent cinema is all about, believing that culture and art are the motors of existence." —Ramiro Cristóbal, FIPRESCI

"What a joyful visit to a cemetery!... [The film] also takes place in your own mind, you make your own associations. Existential questions are dealt with without any banality and always with a respectful curiosity for the people who reveal their heart on camera." —Tue Steen Müller, Dox Magazine

"A sublime rumination on how infrequently we discuss the entire subject of beauty." —Maria Garcia, Film Journal International

"A delicate, measured work of unexpected wisdom and hope that preserves the mysteries of love, art, and memory... (It) conveys equally and elegantly the loving devotion of the living to the departed, and the redemptive, revitalizing power of art. One of the very few (documentaries) where we genuinely feel how necessary, how much of a lifeblood (or life preserver), art can be." —Nicholas Rapold, The New York Sun

"Exhilarating in its praise of the joys of life and art." —The New York Post

"An ideal project for Honigmann's considerable skills. Swaddled in an array of sumptuous images, the personal stories she elicits, without a hint of mawkishness or condescension, combine with impromptu musical or poetic performances... to create a rich fabric of historical reference and cross-cultural identification... In one gorgeously condensed passage, the ‘eternity' of painting and the congealed moment of cinema meet the bald factuality of death, as it were, head on." —Paul Arthur, Film Comment

"It's been a long summer, my movie friends. Diversions, reports, polemics, come-ons and a plentiful supply of time-wasters have filled the theaters. Now, at last, comes a film that was made for love. I'd almost forgotten what I was missing until Honigmann reminded me – but that, of course, is what FOREVER is all about." —Stuart Klawans, The Nation

"A lively and engrossing film... FOREVER, which deals with death, is far from a gloomy film, but it does confront us with a reality that we're all bound to share sooner or later: losing friends and loved ones, and eventually reaching the end ourselves. We may not be fully aware of it, but we have a stake in what happens on screen." —William Johnson, Film Quarterly

"Mesmerizing and moving in its simplicity... Highly recommended for all audiences." —Christine Rigda, Library Journal

2007 Sydney Film Festival
2007 San Francisco International Film Festival
2007 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival
Inspiration Award, 2007 Full Frame Documentary Festival
Ecumenical Jury Award, 2006 Leipzig Film Festival
Best Film 2006, Dutch Critics Award
2006 Rencontres int du documentaire de Montreal
2006 Buenos Aires International Film Festival (BAFICI)
2006 San Sebastian Film Festival
2006 Best Feature Documentary, International Film Festival Navarra
2006 Best Feature Documentary, Film Festival Utrecht

95 minutes / color
Release: 2007
Copyright: 2006
UPC: 8-54565-00112-1
ISBN: 9786312891185
DVD Sale: $29.98

This DVD is sold above for home video use only. If you require a license for institutional use or Public Performance rights, click here.

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Death and Dying, France, On 35mm, Western Europe

Related Links:
The Films of Heddy Honigmann
View a PDF of the Film's Press Kit

Also available for rental on 35mm, please inquire.

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Last Updated January 29, 2015
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