At 79-years old, former film editor Jocelyne Bourgeois is goaded, coaxed, and challenged by me, her persistent filmmaker grandson, to face her true identity, because it is my story too. We embark together to the places she has avoided since WWII, putting back the scenes she edited out. Facing this deleted past is painful, but a life-changing gift for us both.
Working on a personal documentary has been, so far, the biggest challenge of my career. One would think that having unlimited access makes it easier. Absolutely not.
Dealing with members of your family, digging into your own story, exposing your secrets, understanding who you are and how to make sure that the audience is not left aside… A lot of elements to take into account and something I was not really prepared for at the beginning of this project.
Never give up
To convince my grandmother to open up about her past, revealing the secret she had kept for more than 75 years was a hardship. Ruse, decoy, pact... Our relationship became a table tennis match... until we finally struck a deal.
This back and forth negotiations between us made Nana realize that I am on the right side of history, and that her legacy to our family is to face the truth and relieve herself of a very deep pain. She has taken her life apart; I tried to put it back together.
Our story is your story
Everyone leads an edited life. My grandmother's story has its own particular cuts, fades, and dissolves... just like yours.
At the end of the day, this is the project that I am most proud of: immigration, family secrets, struggling identity… My grandmother's story can be anyone's story.