The music they played in various conflict areas around the world triggers Dutch UN soldiers to talk about their personal experiences.
"I’ll never betray them", Heddy Honigmann says of the people she documents. Her oeuvre, which won her IDFA’s Living Legend Award in 2013, is centered around intimate encounters based on a deep relationship of trust.
Peruvian-born Heddy Honigmann (b. 1951) has lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1978. When she won IDFA’s Living Legend Award in 2013, she was only the second recipient ever (the first was the American documentarian Frederick Wiseman). Her position as one of the most important documentary filmmakers in the Netherlands is undisputed.
Honigmann’s films focus on encounters with individuals. There’s Metal and Melancholy, about taxi drivers in her hometown of Lima. She delivers a film almost every year, including feature films like Goodbye. Music always plays a crucial role in her work, such as in The Underground Orchestra, about musicians in the Parisian metro, and Around the World in 50 Concerts, about the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which was also IDFA’s opening film in 2014.
In 2016, Honigmann was IDFA’s honored guest. This included a master class given by her, a retrospective of her work and a Top 10 of her favorite documentaries. In 2015, she became a member of the Dutch Academy of Arts, and in 2016 she received the Oeuvre Award from the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund. Her feature-length documentaries Crazy and Forever received Golden Calves (the Dutch equivalent of the Academy Awards), and Crazy won IDFA’s Audience Award.
Honingmann’s protagonists share their deepest feelings with her. In Crazy, she talks with Dutch UN soldiers who discuss their favorite music during peacekeeping missions, while in O amor natural (IDFA’s opening film in 1996), elderly Brazilians speak glowingly about the erotic poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Then there’s her own mother, standing at the stove in Food for Love – A Shtetl That's No Longer There.
Honigmann rarely appears on camera, but the presence of her curious, sensitive voice ensures that her films are also an encounter with the filmmaker herself.
Screened at IDFA (with year of production): Metal and Melancholy (1993); Goodbye (1995); O amor natural (1996); The Underground Orchestra (1997); 2 minuten stilte, a.u.b. (1998); Crazy (1999); P®ivé (2000, short); Good Husband, Dear Son (2001); Dame la mano (2003); Food for Love – A Shtetl That's No Longer There (2004, short); 26.000 gezichten (2004, short); Forever (2006); Emoticons (2007, short); Around the World in 50 Concerts (2014).