Le Cordonnier de la rue de Stalingrad
Romane Schirm & Magali Fouquet
France, 24 min
Monsieur Bennoit is an old-fashioned cobbler. In his workshop in the suburbs of Paris, the locals come and go, talking about their lives. Meanwhile, the cobbler works on methodically. Voices and gestures, materials and faces give substance to this cleverly fragmented picture of a disappearing world, served by remarkable photography.
Monsieur Benoit is an old-fashioned cobbler. In his workshop in the suburbs of Paris, the locals come and go, talking about their lives. While lending an ear to these delightfully humdrum conversations, the craftsman goes on hammering, scraping, gluing, cutting and sewing, smoothing and polishing. In the dreary, anonymous, geometrical world shown at the beginning and at intervals throughout the film, the little shop – a vestige of times past – provides a refuge. A “local shop”, we would say nowadays. A fine exercise in fragmentation, served by magnificent photography, the film takes a magnifying glass to this microcosm, gradually laying it bare. The noises of machines, voices. Feet, hands. Gestures, materials. Only then, faces. A bit of worn leather, viewed in close-up, turns into an apron. Subtly working on the framing, multiplying the camera angles, the two young filmmakers create an admirable Impressionist painting. A portrait of a trade – and a world – that is fast disappearing.
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