VIFF 2017: Joie de vivre of elegant Parisienne conveyed in Maison du Bonheur


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      Toronto filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz went to Paris and recorded the daily life of an elegant 77-year-old woman.

      The title is what greets you on the doormat of her fabulous art-deco building, and you can easily see why Juliane Sellam has lived there for more than 50 years. Her stories and quotidian pastimes may not contain much that’s extraordinary, but the blond-coiffed grand dame—a retired astrologer and fairly merry widow—expresses them with such unforced vivacity that the one-hour film becomes a pure, if slightly bittersweet, exercise in contagious joie de vivre. The young filmmaker has a photographer’s sharp eye for the little things that can go unnoticed at the time but end up haunting our memories.