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Canada, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Documenta)

Director: Donald McWilliams

Every few years a film surfaces that reminds us of the often forgotten possibilities of creative filmmaking and also of what quality cinema is all about. The Passerby is such a film. Made by English-born Canadian filmmaker Donald McWilliams. The Passerby is a personal film which skilfully combines still photographs, home movies, news footage, text, interviews, animation and classical music into a film about the everyday and the universal—a film which looks at culture, humanity, memory and ghosts. In the opening minutes of The Passerby we hear the words of the film maker "I. a young immigrant, have saved this letter from my mother from half a lifetime ago. It triggers much in my mind's eye—unanswered questions, speculations, images, memories above all, a need to make some sense of the world in which I have lived As a filmmaker, my tools are the images and sounds I have collected, of my own and other people's journeys".

The Passerby is a gentle, stylistic and intriguing film full of painterly images, which not only concerns itself with the content within the frame but also with what happens between the frames. This is a film full of stories, but it is also a film which goes well beyond the narrative and treats us to its visual delights.

For those with an interest in being consumed by the possibilities of what documentary film­making can be. The Passerby is undoubtedly one of the most interesting films at this year's festival. This is a rare gem which should not be missed.


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