Here To Where

Here To Where


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

In 1988, Alfred Merhan arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport without papers. He was to remain stuck in the airport for the next 11 years, as his case made its tortuous way through bureaucracy. Finally, when granted the right to travel wherever he wanted, he stayed on.

Aspiring director, Paul Hugo, has heard Alfred's story and is making a movie about him, documenting the filmmaking process as he goes along.

This collaboration between Paul Berczeller, who wrote the script and plays Hugo, and fashion photographer, Glen Luchford, who directs, is one of the most audacious films I have seen in a long time.

Conciously reminiscent of Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up, in which director Mohsen Makhmalbaf and the man who impersonated him play themselves in a re-enactment of the incident, it blurs the boundaries between fiction and documentary to the nth degree.

As a documentary, the film has to be rated a failure. As an exercise in storytelling, it is more successful.

The plain facts of Merhan's case are established at the start, but nothing of what lies beneath - why he left Iran, why he hasn't left the airport. Instead, Here to Where plays games. Did the filmmakers try, fail, or decide against telling us? Is Merhan really as he appears, or playing a role? If he's playing a role, who is providing the script?

Finally, this relentlessly questioning approach gets to be too much. Not even Berczeller's convincing performance - his apparently effortless improvisations could only have been the product of finely honed writing and long hours in rehearsal - nor a number of nicely conceived sequences from Luchford can prevent the film from disappearing up its own argument.

Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2007
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Documentary (or mockumentary) about one man's life in an airport.

Read more Here To Where reviews:

Gator MacReady *1/2

Director: Glen Luchford

Writer: Glen Luchford

Starring: Abbas Baktiari, Paul Berczeller, Christine Bergstrom, Merhan Nasseri, Mai Pexton

Year: 2001

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


EIFF 2001

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