Carré 35 (Plot 35)
Grief is a bitter pill for anyone to swallow, no matter how strong the fibres of our being, yet this painful reality is tackled in a unique manner by those unfortunate enough to be burdened with it. For French director and actor Eric Caravaca, this despondency has encapsulated his childhood and family history, and is the central context of his new documentary Plot 35, which explores the extent to which a secretive past can lead to the management and acceptance of grief.
In an hour-long feature formulated from old home footage and present-day research, Caravaca endeavours to uncover the secretive past of his parents, confronting the mystery behind the mischievous removal of his older sister – who died at the tender age of three – from the lives and memories of those that knew of her. Through a combination of narrative and interviews conducted by the director himself, Plot 35 provides a suspense-filled investigation that also serves as a political history lesson about state denial, suggesting that, in a sobering reality, a connection between the two may not be such a stark concept.
To be disabled in the post-war period was taboo. Nazi propaganda spliced into the minds of families of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, spreading and affirming the understanding that a child with imperfections was a child worth hiding. The filmmaker’s investigation into his older sister’s short life gives his sibling the acknowledgement and recognition she deserves. The denial and avoidance unashamedly labelled upon his sister, Christine, by their mother makes this personal quest all the more poignant, with Caravaca learning the true, yet sometimes disturbing, answers behind the fated upbringing for the first time.
Pairing both original and contemporary 8mm footage with Florent Marchet’s hauntingly atmospheric score leaves a sombre chill of suspicion and inquisition, with numerous family members being depicted as victims and culprits in Christine’s apparent removal from existence. An underlying uncertainty runs parallel with a level of unease through a cloth of deception and misconstrued reality, moulding Caravaca’s documentary into more than just a biopic investigation. Plot 35 is a journey, orchestrated by a son, that guides the parents of a child once forgotten back into an embrace with the memories they once vowed to subtract from their personal equation. We all have internal seeds of personality that are subconsciously planted by our past. What Caravaca suggests is that to finally accept the past, one must open the gates and allow the memories to flood back in.
Carré 35 (Plot 35) is released on 9th March 2018.
Watch the trailer for Carré 35 (Plot 35) here: