France 2002, 105 min.
Because the real film is not only what we see – Mimi visiting places, remembering episodes from the past, talking to people and to the filmmaker – it’s also the imagery of those words, the words produced by the pictures in our minds.
Mimi is a good storyteller and Claire a good listener – she listens with her camera. Claire Simon doesn’t just illustrate Mimi’s words by showing explanatory pictures of the things or places Mimi talks about, she let’s the camera evade, sometimes capturing details that have nothing to do with what Mimi is saying. A little like when you talk or listen to someone and your eyes come to rest on a button on the person’s shirt or you notice something in the background and look without seeing, because you are busy talking or listening. The director never lets the images take over or drown Mimi’s discourse. Simon films at a tranquil pace, allowing us, the spectators, to absorb the words and create our parallel ‘image-track’ to illustrate Mimi’s story. And it works wonderfully. It’s a discreet, respectful way of filming someone who in return fills the film with her personal story.