Watched "Aznavour, le regard de Charles", which D. had ordered in the framework of the DocAviv, Tel Aviv's springtime documentary film festival, delayed till now due to the pandemic, and still presented just online. I told her it might not hold my attention, but in the end she was the one to fall asleep in the middle.
Aznavour, it turns out, was quite an avid cameraman, constantly filming his travels and the women he loved. Eventually, he amassed a trove of Super-8 video films, which he rarely looked at, but kept stashed "in a secret room of his house." He tells the film maker that, unlike his songs, he has never revealed these to anyone, but perhaps she "will know what to do with them." To the archival film material of the resulting hour-long film, is added a voice-over narration taken from his writings and journals, and, of course, many of his songs.
The product is a very poetic odyssey, full of a particular kind of nostalgia. I don't know much about the man, but the film expresses his humanistic vision; a song critical of the war in Algeria "that was instantly banned"; a trip to Hong Kong, where he expected to revel in an Asian Manhattan, but ended up seeking and filming the poor people in the city's overpopulated back streets and waterways. Wherever in the world he travels, he seems to find intimations of himself. Perhaps he's the ultimate egotist. In the end he says that it is as if we are the ones looking over his shoulder through the camera, and perhaps it is so.
In 2017, just a few months before his death, he visited our village. Prof. Yair Auron had invited him to his Garden of Rescuers and wished to honour him for his family's assistance in rescuing Jews from the Gestapo in wartime Paris. I think he wasn't in such a good mood, because he had just come from a meeting with Ruby Rivlin, and the President had promised no concessions on recognition by Israel of the Armenian Holocaust as a genocide. Aznavour, in the voice of the film's narrator, mentions his visit to the village, saying "I spent a moment in a "kibbutz" where Palestinians and Jews lived together, and that is what I would like to see everyday."