Belleville Baby

(Sweden, 2013, 76 mins, DCP)
Canadian Premiere
PROD Tobias Janson
SCR/CAM/ED Mia Engberg
MUS Michel Wenzer


Swedish director Mia Engberg’s personal docu-essay is a sly model example of the genre—it weaves memory, love, loss, politics, class, aging, cynicism and hope into one deeply affecting tapestry. That we can never be sure exactly what is true in what Engberg presents and what isn’t just adds another layer to this mesmerizing work.

When she was young and living in Paris’ working-class Belleville district, Engberg fell in love with an Algerian crook named Vincent, who disappeared without so much as a by your leave. Back in Sweden many years later, she gets a phone call from him. His disappearance was police-related and he had been imprisoned for years. Now he is trying to rebuild his life and asks if Engberg can relate to him her memories of their past together. But is that all he wants? And is Engberg willing—or able—to supply him with what he needs? Is it possible that we create our memories in order to re-invent our current selves?

Using multiple formats, from mobile phone images to stark 16mm, Engberg blends past and present, memory and imagination into a quirky whole. Different versions of the "truth"—some funny, some sad—emerge to the point where viewers may begin to question the veracity of the whole undertaking. How much of what we see and hear has been "reconstructed?" For that matter, is the voice on the phone really Vincent’s voice…?

Film Contact Information
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Sara Rüster
Swedish Film Institute
Box 27126
S-102 52 Stockholm
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