LETTERS TO MAX

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A FILM BY ERIC BAUDELAIRE
WITH MAXIM GVINJIA
103 MIN - COLOR - 2014
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Paris, June 29th 2012

Dear Max,

Are you there?

Eric

“Abkhazia is something of a paradox: a country that exists, in the physical sense of the word (a territory with borders, a government, a flag and a language), yet it has no legal existence because for almost twenty years it was not recognized by any other nation state. And so Abkhazia exists without existing, caught in a liminal space, a space in between realities. Which is why my letter to Max was something of a message in a bottle thrown at sea, a wink to the world of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi that Maxim Gvinjia seems to inhabit. But my letter arrived, and somehow fiction has penetrated the real.”

And so Eric Baudelaire launched on a letter writing campaign, 74 letters sent over 74 days, a script for a voiceover to a film in which Maxim Gvinjia, former Foreign Minister of the unrecognized state of Abkhazia, becomes the narrator. The film is structured by this exchange: letters that should not have arrived and yet somehow reached Max, his recorded responses, and images that Eric Baudelaire filmed in Abkhazia once their correspondence ended.

“As in The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images... (FID 2011), the tools of cinema are not only at the service of information, but also act as makers of artefacts. What landscape footage is shown here: that of an emerging nation or that of an old country? The mute landscape of nature or the talkative one of politics? Once again, Baudelaire drags us into the obscure and twisted meanders of history.”

Jean-Pierre Rehm (FIDMarseille 2014)

PRELUDE


PRESS & REVIEWS


ART REVIEW, Justin Jaeckle
French artist and filmmaker Eric Baudelaire’s Jury Prize winning Letters to Max turned geopolitics into poetry, via the artist’s correspondence with the former foreign secretary of Abkhazia – a self-proclaimed independent territory in the ex-USSR, whose separatist autonomy most of the world doesn’t accept. An intimate exploration of recognition, independence and in/exclusion (alongside the magic of the postal service’s ability to deliver to a country that doesn’t formally exist). OCT 2014

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LES INROCKS, Claire Moulène
Lettres d'amour en Abkhazie, FEB 12-18 2014

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FRIEZE, Ellen Mara De Wachter
Changed States, SUMMER 2014

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ARTFORUM.COM, Agnieszka Gratza
You've Got Mail, MARCH 20 2014

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THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Neil Young
Letters to Max, JUL 12 2014

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WUXIA, Maria Moseng
Found Letters and Lost Images, JAN-FEB 2014


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FESTIVALS
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FID Marseille International Competition — Toronto International Film Festival Wavelengths — IndieFestival Sao Paolo / Belo Horizonte — BFI London Experimenta — DocLisboa SPECIAL JURY PRIZE — Kaunas Film Festival Lithuania — CPH:DOX Copenhagen — Entrevue Belfort Competition— Jihlava Film Festival Competition — Filmmaker Milan Competition — RIDM Montréal Competition

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CREDITS
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DIRECTOR  Eric Baudelaire
ARTISTIC COLLABORATION  Leon Colm, Laure Vermeersch, Juliette Navis
PHOTOGRAPHY  Eric Baudelaire
SOUND  Juliette Navis, Jean Holtzmann, Julien Bonvicini
EDITING  Eric Baudelaire, Laure Vermeersch
WITH THE SUPPORT OF  Région Ile-de-France - Bétonsalon - Bergen Kunsthall - Argos - Image / Mouvement Centre national des arts plastiques - UC Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive

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TECHNICAL INFO
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DURATION  103 min
MEDIUM  HD
PROJECTION FORMAT  DCP
LANGUAGES  English & Russian
SUBTITLES  English or French