Sign up for our free newsletter
Encountering a curious Iranian émigré at the grave of his favorite Farsi author, Heddy Honigmann explains that she’s making “a film about the importance of art in life.” Since this is literally a movie about Paris’ Père-Lachaise Cemetery, the director’s description initially seems disingenuous. But damned if she isn’t telling the truth. Honigmann features a few women who attend to their husbands’ tombs, a cemetery tour guide who discusses changing customs of death, and monuments to deported Jews who were murdered far from their Paris homes. (Plus, of course, a little chatter about the place’s most infamous resident, Jim Morrison.) Yet Honigmann, who has movingly considered the power of music and memory in such films as Crazy, is especially drawn to the crypts of people like Ingres, Wilde, Apollinaire—and to the people who are drawn to them. From the Japanese pianist who communes with her dead father by playing Chopin to the eager Proust fan who extols the author’s mastery in (unsubtitled) Korean, Forever does indeed illustrate the importance of art in life.