The Underground Orchestra

    Het ondergronds orkest

    • Heddy Honigmann
    • Netherlands, France
    • 1997
    • 108 min
    • Retrospective: Heddy Honigmann
    A Venezuelan harp player, a violinist from Sarajevo, an Argentine piano player, a Malian singer and a Romanian zither player are the miscellaneous leading characters in this documentary by Heddy Honigmann. Although the film is called The Underground Orchestra and initially seems to deal with people who eke out a living by playing music in the passages of the Parisian metro, the scene of the action gradually shifts to life aboveground. On the one hand, because shooting a film in the Parisian metro has been forbidden since a series of bomb attacks took place here. On the other hand, an “underground” world also seems to exist aboveground: many of the musicians portrayed have left their native countries for political reasons and are currently living in France as illegal aliens. Their dwellings are tiny chambres de bonne under the roofs of Parisian houses, or overpriced but shabby hotel rooms. Little by little, their musical activities are streamlined, and they can be found in recording studios and concert halls. They have also joined forces in a real underground orchestra, which plays underneath the arcades near the Place des Vosges.


    • 108 min
    • color
    • 35mm
    Heddy Honigmann
    Pieter van Huystee for Pieter van Huystee Film
    Eric Guichard
    Mario Steenbergen
    Piotr van Dijk

    IDFA history

    Retrospective: Heddy Honigmann
    Top 10
    IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

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