The idea came up through a conversation with my friend Jeff back in Shanghai during July 2010. I was telling him about the ups and downs in the daily life of Suzanne, my grand-mother. He encouraged me to do something about it and film her.
Suzanne Lelièvre is now 98 years old, blind, wears auditive prothesis and walks with a great deal of pain since numerous falls. She lives almost alone but remains dignified and strong thru the struggles of old age even to the point of being able to laugh about it.
In October I went back home, not really prepared and not sure about how to approach the whole project, so I let my camera roll and decided that I would let the footage on my grand-mother talk for itself...
During my time with her, it came to my attention that the image of shores, both abstract and physical, was recurrent in her talks. It was almost as if she was structuring, in her head, life and death as two different shores, moving onto the other shore signifying a final crossing to eternity.
This led me to construct the film upon this metaphor and “Walking on the Shore” was born.
And so she walks on one shore, the shore of life, with the accumulated memories of a life time, separated from the other shore by a vast ocean. Sometimes she doesn’t want to cross, sometimes she doesn’t want to stay; either way she stands firm, not without difficulty but with courage, lucidity and dignity on her shore.
“Walking on the shore” was shot in Paris over 2 weeks with my 7D, a 60mm macro lens without additional lights and without the use of a proper microphone.
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