for Cinetalk.net

The presence of the Camera in the documentary film genre can become invasive if not kept at just the perfect distance from the subject matter. However, when a filmmaker turns the camera inward, authenticity is gauged by just how close the subject allows themself to be to the cameraperson (the Self). Diane Sara Bouzgarrou’s Je Ne Me Souviens de Rien works in that aspect. She records herself up close, nude, with her lover, and even irritating her sibling who doesn’t want to be filmed. The lens is invasive, but that’s what makes the footage so intimate.

Alternately, some clips were shot by Bouzgarrou’s boyfriend. A lover usually qualifies as the second closest person to the Self, only in competition with a parent. Tender moments are therefore seen with Bouzgarrou hugging her mother, and musing to the camera about relationships while her boyfriend tries to sleep next to her. Creating further intimate atmosphere, some scenes are audio only. To a black screen, the protagonist whispers as if conversing with herself in a darkened room. Bouzgarrou documents everything in her life. When she has a manic depressive episode, she continues filming. But the mind is a peculiar thing. It has the ability to compartmentalize or completely erase painful memories. After leaving psychiatric care, Bouzgarrou has no recollection of the moments she and her lover had documented. The film is her way of recovering her lost memories.

As an introspective art film, it is set up to succeed. Where it falls flat is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear defining moment in the plot. One might expect that a bipolar manic episode might have emotional power onscreen. On the contrary, it’s hard to notice any turning point. The before and after hospitalization doesn’t show a marked difference in perspective. We are left wondering what exactly occurred and whether or not Bouzgarrou’s memories were restored. Even a voiceover in the final scenes may have given more of an ending to a potentially interesting concept. This leaves the viewer with neither a positive outlook nor a heavy heart. As it stands, it’s not very satisfying as a completed piece of cinema.

 

Screenings:

November 11th, 2017, 5:30 pm
Concordia University – J.A. De Seve
with English subtitles

November 15th, 4 pm
Cinema du Parc
with English subtitles

Filmmaker in attendance

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