Family as a symbol of the world’s troubles is likewise a central theme of Pinocchio, the latest feature-length documentary from André-Line Beauparlant. It’s the third in a series of films that has dominated the filmmaker’s concerns since her film Trois princesses pour Roland from 2001. Beauparlant likens it to a quest for her own identity through the family in which she was born and raised. In some ways, it seems almost therapeutic—or at least, so it would seem, given her obsessive need to revisit the theme.
In Pinocchio, her quest zeroes in on her brother Éric, who is leading a somewhat murky existence in Brazil and Peru. As Beauparlant sets off to unravel the mystery, her emotionally charged investigation gives way to a confrontation revealing the multiple identities (real or fictional?) of a singular character: Éric, a small-time conman who has his own way of reacting to a given family context. As the filmmaker remarks in a 2015 Huffington Post interview:
[translation] “It’s a conversation with Éric on the run, with a guy who does everything to keep you at arm’s length. But Éric has no trouble owning up to his lifestyle, to his flair for lying or his small wheeling and dealing. Sometimes I felt like it was me who didn’t get it: that he’s actually doing fine, that he’s as happy as he claims to be in the film—that he’s fulfilling his destiny to live life as a “bum”. The film was my way of accepting him for who he is without trying to judge him.” 1
Here, to return to our theme, the narrative twists and becomes fragmented in such a way that to say anything more about it would destroy the element of surprise around which the film is structured.
1 "«Pinocchio» d'André-Line Beauparlant: les mensonges de mon frère (ENTREVUE/VIDÉO)", Ismaël Houdassine, Le Huffington Post Québec, http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/12/10/pinocchio-documentaire-video_n_8773934.html
her emotionally charged investigation gives way to a confrontation revealing the multiple identities (real or fictional?) of a singular character...