Voin grew up in communist Bulgaria. After twenty years in Western Europe, he returns to those places in Sofia where he spent his childhood and adolescent years. His portrait’s composition moves from place to place, and from memories to anecdotes. Since JJA (FID 2012), Gaëlle Boucand has been working on portrait genre with reiterated joy. The ingredients for such success? Models who love and know how to tell themselves and a film-maker who, by staging body and speech in specific places, extends portraits towards broader evocations. Each place is a scene and Voin, a fine story-teller that he is, is both chatty and concise, and more than willing to give shape to his own fragments of memory. Gaëlle Boucand’s crucial intuition consists of using her friend’s eccentricity to invent a decentered, oblique gaze on life in Sofia at the end of the communist era. The immense and magnificent concert hall where her mother used to work is chosen so they both can be reminiscing of the day the regime collapsed. From the rooster’s decapitation to the sexual initiation rituals in the forbidden home, Voin establishes miniature scenes of an apprentice novel in the style of Bataille, at once crude and sovereign. By telling stories about his disguises, he also makes claims for the exercise of freedom, of the kind of supple movement required through the course of History he inherits. Voin imitates it, letting History reappear in a refreshed tonality, a minor and eccentric vitality, far removed from most commonplaces of storytelling. And, when leaning over the void, up above the nineteenth floor of the Tolstoï tower, the thirty-year-old man contemplates the low-rent buildings of his childhood’s district of Hope, his vertigo becomes contagious, and the sensation is both thrilling and chilling. (FIDMarseille)
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