Film: Back to Normandy review

Last January I noted that the documentary Back to Normandy was in release. The original director of Moi, Pierre Rivière film based on Foucault’s publication of the legal case, revisited the original actors and made a documentary. Now it looks like it is opening in the USA.

The New York Times provides a review.

More than 30 years ago the French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert began his career as an assistant director on René Allio’s true-crime drama “I, Pierre Rivière, Having Slaughtered My Mother, My Sister and My Brother …” Adapted from Michel Foucault’s celebrated account (based on the killer’s jailhouse confession) of a young Norman peasant who in 1835 used a billhook to commit triple murder, the movie was filmed only a few miles from the crime scene, mainly with local residents.

In “Back to Normandy,” Mr. Philibert returns to the region to catch up with the cast and relive an experience that was pivotal in forging his artistic identity. But he has more in mind than an indulgence of nostalgia. As he chats with the families whose lives were briefly touched by the arcane disruptions of moviemaking, his visit yields a palimpsest of observations on work, rationality and the ineluctable connections between history and modernity.


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