After I wrote about the Big Muddy Film Festival, a friend asked why I hadn’t mentioned Dvorit Shargal’s Where Is Elle-Kari and What Happened to Noriko-San?
An Israeli woman remembers a series of “children of the world” books featuring photographs by Anna Rivkin-Brick and, in nine of the books, text by Astrid Lindgren, of Pippi Longstocking fame.
We watched, astonished, as this woman went to unbelievable lengths (painstaking research and world travel) to try to find the heroines of two of the books, Elle-Kari from Lapland and Noriko-San from Japan—as well as Dirk from Holland and some Israeli characters. In the process we got fascinating glimpses of the landscapes and cultures of these countries.
The woman’s persistence is remarkable. When, step by step, we follow her to Tokyo, and see her search for Noriko-San come to fruition, it’s very touching.
The other film that I should have mentioned, because I liked it very much, was called This Is Not the End. Directed by Hilary Campbell, it was the first film we saw, and possibly the shortest, at 7:17 minutes.
The camera focuses on each member of one family. No one talks; they just hold up signs identifying themselves and their current situations within the family. From this surface view we are led to discover some deep sadness they share, and joy in spite of it.
In the way that it showed so much, so simply, this film reminded me of a haiku poem, and it took my breath away.
We look forward to more pleasant surprises at next year’s festival!