Portraiture at its very best, "Lives" is an artist's sketchbook concentrated on four well-lived, 60-year-old lives. Filmmaker Alain Cavalier ("Therese") seems totally guileless as he introduces his digital camera into an operating theater, a sculptor's studio, a butcher shop and finally Orson Welles' French country home. The interviews cut to the heart of their subjects to amaze, inform, and hypnotize open-minded viewers. Overall effect of watching this unaffected yet sophisticated docu is quite uplifting. Superb programming for pubcasters, it should enjoy a long festival life.

Portraiture at its very best, “Lives” is an artist’s sketchbook concentrated on four well-lived, 60-year-old lives. Filmmaker Alain Cavalier (“Therese”) seems totally guileless as he introduces his digital camera into an operating theater, a sculptor’s studio, a butcher shop and finally Orson Welles’ French country home. The interviews cut to the heart of their subjects to amaze, inform, and hypnotize open-minded viewers. Overall effect of watching this unaffected yet sophisticated docu is quite uplifting. Superb programming for pubcasters, it should enjoy a long festival life.

Yves Pouliquen, a joking eye surgeon, performs seven successful operations for the camera. The tiny apartment of sculptor Jean-Louis Faure is a treasure trove of art objects. The butcher Michel tells his entire life story while he chops up a side of beef. The camera wanders unhurriedly through a beautiful but decrepit house that once belonging to Welles. Cavalier is given a guided tour by the unseen Francoise Widhoff, Welles’ former assistant, as she charmingly recounts the wasted years she spent with the great director. A plum for film buffs, the piece flies with her droll, ironic narration.

Lives

France

Production

A Les Films de l'Astrophore production. (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Directed, written, edited by Alain Cavalier.

Crew

Camera (color, digital video-to-35mm), Cavalier. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Ex-Voto), Jan. 26, 2001. Original title: Vies. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Yves Pouliquen, Jean-Louis Faure, Francoise Widhoff.

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