on the roof and courtyard
232 Third St. at 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
F/G to Carroll St. or R to Union
|8:30PM||Live Music by Lorna Dune|
|11:00PM- 12:30AM||Reception in courtyard courtesy of Red Stripe & Tito's Vodka|
Belleville Baby (Mia Engberg | Sweden | 76 min.)
What do you do when an ex-boyfriend calls you after mysteriously disappearing years before? What do you do if you’ve moved on from that painful loss, happily started a family, completely changed your life for the better? What do you do if your past is something you’d rather forget, something perhaps unpleasant? Filmmaker Mia Engberg received such a phone call, and wanted to ignore it. But she couldn’t. Her memories, foggy and unclear, were too alluring.
This hybrid documentary is framed by the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. His lover sucked down into Hades, Orpheus negotiates her release (via an act of beautiful artistry) on one condition: that he not look back, not remember what he’s seen. The man in this film is desperately trying to look back, and once again the search may not be beneficial for the woman. Our man has indeed been in an unspeakable place, a cruel and violent prison, and he has developed a necessary blunt cynicism he is now trying to pierce by rekindling beloved memories.
But the ex-lovers’ reminiscences, recounted through a series of phone calls played over dreamy home movies, may not align. Their love is passionate and severe, thrilling to relive, but she is frightened to recall his chivalrous but violent tendencies; he is heartbroken that she doesn’t remember their sweet, simple moments together. The discrepancies reveal facts about the shifting nature of memory, and our stake in shaping our own pasts. With her parallels to a well-known outlaw of the day, and his disconnect with past racial protests, each character posits themselves within a social milieu that benefits their desires. The vivid and searing details bring these unseen characters to life, with visions all the more intense for being unspecified, based on ideas rather than images. The stories, while intimate and unique, take on a universal magnetism that is poetic and poignant and will provoke introspection for anyone with a tender memory.
- Mark Elijah Rosenberg