On the Edge of the World
SCR Claus Drexel
CAM Sylvain Leser
ED Anne Souriau
PROD CO Daisyday Films
Paris, at night. This is where Jeni, Wenceslas, Christine, Pascal and the others live. Homeless, they haunt the streets and bridges, and the corridors of the metro, on the edge of a world where society no longer offers protection. They face us and they talk… More than the sum of its parts and a shining example of the art of the documentary, Claus Drexel’s luminously shot film contrasts the beauty of the city with the plight of the homeless to deeply moving effect.
Drexel’s thoughtful essai involves placing a camera and microphone in front of his subjects and listening closely to their reflections on life, their philosophies. Carefully selected, no doubt, these "vagrants" are sober, serious, articulate. We are, one of them claims, returning to the era of Louis XIV, when aristocrats threw scraps of food from their balconies and the poor fought and even killed for them…
Sylvain Leser’s astonishing cinematography captures Paris, mostly at night, above and below ground. The carefully composed contrast between the beauty of the city at Christmas and the despair and the loneliness of the homeless could not be sharper. Opening with Wagner’s Parsifal on the soundtrack and poignantly closing with Puccini’s "Nessun Dorma" (no one shall sleep), On the Edge of the World cannot fail to move.