// Presented as part of June’s Filmatique Talents II Series //
Pierre-François Sauter / 2016, Visions du Réel, Belgrade, Doclisboa, Documenta Madrid, Fünf-Seen, Krakow, Locarno, RIDM - Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire Montréal, Solothurner Filmtage, Yamagata / 117'
Jovan and José are two undertakers at a funeral home in Switzerland. They go about their days in near silence, receiving and processing the dead while their families make arrangements for their burial. One day, a Calabrian immigrant passes away; his body need be returned to the small town of his birth, in southern Italy. Jovan and José, who are themselves immigrants embark on this journey together—Jovan, a gypsy who was a singer in Belgrade, believes in life after death, while José, a Portuguese who is passionate about culture, believes only what he sees. Together, they face the trip's contingencies and the surprises, their meandering conversations and shared moments in a hearse traveling south ultimately a celebration of the living.
Offering a nuanced, balanced account of one man's repatriation to his homeland from the perspective of two men who have left theirs, Calabria is a humanizing and often humorous account of the complex fabric of immigration in contemporary Europe, and of the experiences of the individuals who comprise it. Pierre-François Sauter's second documentary film premiered at Locarno, DocumentaMadrid, Yamagata IDFF, MoMA's Doc Fortnight; DocLisboa, where it won Best International Competition Film, and Visions du Réel, where it won a Special Jury Mention.