Distant Constellation, Dir. Shevaun Mizrahi, USA / Turkey / Netherlands 2017, 80 mins
Shevaun Mizrahi’s debut documentary feature records the stories told by the residents of a retirement home in Istanbul. Sitting somewhere between ethnography and magical realism, the retirement home is situated in a tower whose interior walls are bestowed with an almost painterly quality by Mizrahi’s post-production. Continuous construction is visible through the windows of the home, juxtaposing the new beginnings happening outside and the elderly residents within. The viewer is drawn neither to the home itself nor the physicality of ageing but to the vital stories and inner lives of the residents. We don’t hear or see Mizrahi on screen, instead a woman confides her personal account of the Armenian genocide. A sweetly deluded pianist performs a composition before confessing his love and a blind photographer fiddles with his flash as he points his own camera back at us.