Hot Docs 2017: 69 Minutes of 86 Days

Cinema Axis

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The realities of refugee life are captured with stunning passivity in Egil Håskjold Larsen’s understated 69 Minutes of 86 Days.  The film follows a refugee family en route to Sweden, careful to observe the journey, not comment.  The brilliance of the film lay in a stylistic choice that forces the spectator into the perspective of the most vulnerable and least understanding member of the family:  3-year-old Lean.

The camera is a fly-on-the-wall, only without a wall.  It observes the family from the same point-of-view as Lean.  Usually, this sets the camera about a meter off the ground, giving the audience a frame full of adult legs, low angles, and a reduced perspective of the greater context.

Occasionally, Lean is carried in the arms of her father or uncle, and only during these times does Larsen pick the camera up to an adult eye level.  Once you get into this…

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