(El Olvido, 2008) One brilliantly conceived, eloquently melancholy sequence in Peruvian-born, Dutch-based filmmaker Heddy Honigmann’s twelfth feature-length documentary, “Oblivion,” exemplifies her inventive, expressive style, seen in earlier movies like “Crazy,” for instance, where scenes about the relationship to music by soldiers on the battlefield evokes any number of emotions. In “Oblivion,” Honigmann compares the fates of the vainglorious failed presidencies of Peru with the suffering of shopkeepers, craftsmen, bartenders, children who play in the streets as a form of begging. A café in Lima. The room is elegant, weathered, timeless, iscernibly South American, high ceilings, gorgeous mirrored bar on one side of the room, pillars, tables. It’s a wide shot. A man sits in the foreground and talks about how the café came into his care. The camera does not move, but the shot dissolves, the speaker disappears, and at another table, a couple relate to the camera what the café means to them, et cetera. The room is a constant, and the living presences move around the room like ghosts, or not-yet-ghosts of a proud, crumbling country. “Oblivion” is never elegiac, but it is remains hopeful observing sustained terrible circumstances. 93m. 35mm. (Ray Pride)
“Oblivion” opens Friday for a week at Facets.