PENELOPE MY LOVE
Eight years ago, during a trip to the Mongolian steppes, Claire Doyon composed
a luminous portrait of her autistic daughter (Pénélope, FID 2012). A few of its
scenes have found their way into this film which, from hundreds of hours of
rushes accumulated over the years, recounts the story of life, of and with
Pénélope. The narrative is a double movement. A forwards movement first,
which recounts the battle of a mother who has dedicated her life to fighting
against her daughter’s disease, against medical and social violence. To the
extent, she says, that she gave up being a filmmaker. After Les Allées sombres
(The dark alleys) (FID 2015), Pénélope, mon amour proves that this is far from
being the case. For in this war, as she also says, the camera is both weapon
and shield. The film never ceases to emphasise this truth: what keeps her
going, is to continue filming what goes on, however painful it might be. This
fixing of attention and the patience of images has allowed Claire Doyon to
express herself in words, to lay her voice bare as she thinks of her years of life
with Pénélope. As the words flow, a second movement gradually rises beneath
the first: A moving tale of learning, of a mother who gives up her battle to
accompany her daughter on the path to peace. Beneath the Mongolian sun,
among the reindeer, Penelope’s actions blossom like flowers. After which the
image continues to widen until it reveals, in the clearing of a field of ancient
ruins, the punk sovereignty of Penelope. It is the story of a young woman who
will never fit in but whom the cinema, because it is able to appreciate her
extraordinary existence, helps her to find her own special place in the world.
Original Version : French.
Subtitles : English.
Script : Claire Doyon.
Photography : Claire Doyon.
Editing : Raphaël Lefèvre.
Sound : Gilles Bernardeau.
Production : Carole Chassaing (Tamara Films).
Filmography : Chrishna/Ombwiri, 2019. Arsenic, 2017. Les Allées sombres, 2015. Kataï, 2010. Les Lionceaux, 2002. Le vent souffle où il veut, 2000.
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