French selection 2019

Forbach Swing

Marie Dumora

2019France109 min

In New-York, where, mid-film, Sam­son Schmitt has just given a jazz per­formance, an enthusiastic producer tells him that he sees a link between American bluegrass music and the gypsy music that Samson, from For­bach, has come to play that same eve­ning. In this even-tempered film, this is one of the scenes that sheds light on the intention of Forbach Swing. Because, clearly, we would not have seen a very different film had Marie Dumora shot it in Nashville, in one honkytonk after another, rather than in Forbach, where Samson, Mike, and the others, are carrying on the legacy of Django Reinhardt and Samson’s father, Dorado Schmitt. The film is firmly rooted in a territory and a culture (all the characters/ musicians are gypsies and Forbach is a stone’s throw from the places where Dumora had shot her previous films on the Yenish). Yet, it depicts a com­munity that coalesces above all through its characters, through a community of days spent playing together and their joy in doing so. They are equally at home in New York or the Mercury Hotel restau­rant where the younger members play from the repertoire of 1940s and 1950s crooners – America, yet again. The course stayed by Marie Dumora from one film to another is that of the characters who are the sole focus of her discreet and scrupulous camera. Here, in a joyful vein reminiscent of what film critic Jacques Lourcelles said about Howard Hawks’ Hatari!, and its ambition to “offer the audience a credible representation of happiness”. 
– Jérôme Momcilovic

  • Marie Dumora films all her documentaries in the east of France, all within a few acres of each other. She thus creates a cinematic territory on which the character in one film leads on to next, like Ariane’s thread. And it is not uncommon to find them several years later from one film to another. All her films have been screened and won awards in many festivals: Berlinale, Cannes (Acid), Viennale, Indie Lisboa, Entrevues Belfort, FID Marseille, Cinéma du réel, Amiens…

  • PRODUCTION : Jérôme Dopffer (Les Productions Balthazar)

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