Film still of the film Six portraits XL: Portrait n°6 Léon, directed by Alain Cavalier, Visions du Réel 2017

Six portraits XL: Portrait n°6 Léon

Alain Cavalier
France | 2017 | 52 min
World premiere
Language : French
Subtitle : English

“A surly, clever and sensitive cobbler, Léon Maghazadjan has been repairing shoes in his district for 47 years. He’s a star. With one hint after another, he announces his forthcoming retirement. Desolation ensues.” (A. Cavalier) Léon is more than a cobbler. He is the secret soul of a place. He does not just look after the shoes of the inhabitants of his district. He listens to all the stories that go along with it: the confidences from a penniless little world, the joyful mockery of young people, the difficulties of old people living in solitude. His strong-featured face is often serious and harsh, but a witticism is enough to bring a broad smile to it. Like Cavalier’s other portraits, this too is open to encounter. The camera is constrained, filming in a confined space. So it approaches its subject and brings nice surprises, such as when it captures Léon’s secret moments. His retirement has the magnitude of a farewell to the stage. His customer friends accompany his departure with joy and emotion. Although left empty, his small professional space lingers on as the centre of the world.

Luciano Barisone

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