by Phil Boatwright

This cocumentary from award-winning filmmaker Heddy Honigmann takes place at the world-famous Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, the final resting place for legendary writers, composers, painters and other artists. It will be released on April 21st in a special-edition DVD.

Forever is a poignant meditation on relations between the living and the dead, and the immortal power of art. During its visits to many famous graves—including those of Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, Guillaume Apollinaire, Amadeo Modigliani, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Auguste Ingres, Maria Callas, Georges Méliès, Jim Morrison, Yves Montand and Simone Signoret - Forever introduces us to both Parisians and tourists who make pilgrimages to these tombs, whether to pay their respects, leave flowers or personal messages, or even to tend to the upkeep of the tombstones.

Visitors to the Père-Lachaise, including foreign tourists, a cemetery tour guide, a historian, a pianist, an illustrator, and an embalmer, share fascinating anecdotes about the deceased, and relate personal stories about the significance of the artists’ work in their lives. Forever also features highlights of the work of many of these renowned artists and demonstrates how their art has inspired and is commemorated by their devotees.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I think we are always enriched by exploring artists and their work. Though they are often tortured souls and sadly deny the existence of the greatest Creator, still they generally help us connect with the ethereal and that remind us to appreciate, consider and remember.

Sadly, if any of the artists were influenced by biblical teachings, they are not evidenced by the filmmaker. God is only mentioned in passing. An elderly lady tells us that she can no longer believe in God after witnessing an unfathomable crime.

Along with this intriguing documentary allow me to suggest a film and another documentary that will uplift edify and enrich. The film is THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY, with Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison. Though the film secures only 3 stars from even its most fervent admirers, it is the opening tribute to Michelangelo that you’ll play over and over. His work in marble is miraculous. Indeed, his Pieta of St. Peter’s literally took my breath the first time I saw it in this film. Four friends have seen the piece in person and have confirmed that’s the physical reaction when standing before it.

The documentary I also recommend – AMERICA’S HEART AND SOUL (2004). Filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg packed up his camera and hit the road, with a goal of capturing both the unparalleled beauty of the U.S. and the incomparable spirit of its people. Here you have the chance to meet ordinary Americans with extraordinary stories. Schwartzberg’s gift is his ability to connect with people, honestly capturing their values, dreams, and passion. AMERICA’S HEART AND SOUL is a celebration of a nation told through the voices of its people.

FOREVER Bonus Features: A 30-Minute Interview with Heddy Honigmann conducted by John Anderson (Variety, The New York Times) at the 2007 San Francisco International Film Festival. Heddy Honigmann Filmography and Biography. Trailers from Other Icarus Films Home Video Releases. 95 minutes / Color / Dolby Digital