Video: Riva & Albert by Roy Petersen

“RIVA & ALBERT is a deeply touching film about life, friendship and jazz. Your heart will be warmed. A must see!” Jo Becker, The New York Times

“In our time pensioners are mostly seen as a problem to be dealt with, tugged [tucked, surely?] away in care homes. This short film shows us what we are actually missing. Albert, the jazz-playing 102-year-old has a century of experience, thoughts and, yes, fun to share. And Riva is a young woman who fully embraces this man. The best thing about this film is that Albert is actually a man for her. Not a charitable effort to put on her schedule, not a poor old chap she feels obliged to visit once in a while. There is love between those two people. And it is wonderful to see short glimpses of this unusual affair in “Riva and Albert”.
Cornelia Fuchs, Reporter, Stern magazine

Produced by Roy Petersen and Hazel Thompson. Directed by Roy Petersen, Cinematography Hazel Thompson, Edit by Jonny Elwyn. Mix by Svein Nygaard.

What I like about Riva & Albert, aside from the story of their intergenerational friendship, is:

  • the non-traditional documentary style: we are shown, rather than told, with close up environmental shots where Riva works (and the same style is used in Albert’s abode – these shots give us a sense of place and of the characters);
  • Riva’s voice tells their story and jazz music (which Albert used to make) provides background music, therefore both their voices are constantly heard;
  • when Riva is being interviewed in a garden, the camera seems to be in a tree – the shot is the opposite of intrusive and Riva seems relaxed while she’s talking, which may mean she is comfortable in front of the camera or that the filmmaker has the ability to put people at ease or both or something else entirely;
  • near the end of the film some text states, ‘sadly, Albert died one month after we finished filming” and I dislike the use of the word “sadly” because I don’t like telling the viewer how to feel – I prefer to offer something and let them choose.

What do you think?

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