As Life Goes By | Chicago Reader

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This 2003 video documentary originated in the mid-90s when director Jean-Henri Meunier moved to Najac, a small medieval town nestled in a rugged cul-de-sac of the Midi-Pyrenees. His affection for his eccentric and resourceful neighbors translates here into a rhapsody of the quotidian: among the dozen villagers he celebrates are an indefatigable mechanic who channels his longing for his dead wife into his doll collection, a farmer whose Lithuanian Jewish family was inspired to emigrate by the humanist ideals of the French Revolution, and a philosophical eco-activist who blithely ignores his persistent bill collectors. Funny, sweet, and oddly reassuring, the video shows how people can bloom in isolation like the rare orchids that dot the mountainside. In French with subtitles. 94 min.

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