There’s something radically painterly, about Sofia Bohanovich’s new documentary film Maison du Bonheur. Bohanovich spent a month in Paris living with the 77-year-old mother of a friend of hers, Juliane Sellam. The resulting film is as much an intoxicating series of images, both domestic and urbane, as it is a story about the still coquettish Mme. Sellam.
Narrative film is so dominant today that we forget how at the dawn of moving pictures, artists and theorists understood that film was like painting. They saw that it was in editing and montage—placing images next to each other in non-linear fashion—that the radical artistic potential of cinema could be found. It’s worth seeking out this film not only for its subject, but for how it demonstrates the flexibility and artistry of the camera.