Livre d’heures – Book of Hours

2019 | Short Film

The experimental film Livre d’heures/Book of Hours is a fictionalised account by Suzan Noesen of her experiences while living together with her 87-year-old grandmother. Developed in collaboration over several months and rehearsed in improvisation sessions for two weeks prior to the shoot, Book of Hours starts a journey of self-discovery that deals with intergenerational differences, identity and the interdependence between two women.

Structured like a Christian book of hours – a religious calendar for every-day, social life in medieval times – the film is separated into four chapters: “Patterns”, “The Virgin Hours”, “The Divine Office of Time” and “The Penitential Psalms”. Each serves to mediate the individual, conflicting perceptions of duration of these two women born two generations apart. Looking at their small gestures and interactions in daily life, the differences in body and speech rhythm creates conflicting temporalities through the close, lingering relationship of the camera with the characters and their surroundings.

Placing these two women within this timelessness of slow, observational cinema, their separate identities shines through in speech, manner and visual patterns. “Bomi”, Noesen’s grandmother, relates to nature and seasons, cherishes traditions and rituals and demonstrates a timeless curiosity about the world and her grand-daughter’s endeavours.
Tied to the pressures of our modern-day, accelerated existence, Suzan and her art are trapped by time into the pressures of delivering, creating and performing. Despite living figuratively in separate “times”, the two women meet through a candid relationship and a bond that surpasses past, present and future: the shared destiny of women or maybe the intergenerational link inherent to female identity and family. The film also enters another surreal dimension with an unknown girl, who walks with her bicycle aimlessly through the woods. In this psychological twilight zone, this mysterious figure seems to search for her way, a new path or even an identity perhaps. She serves as a metaphor for a female identity passed down through heritage looking for a new destiny.

From the micro-gestures and patterns of daily life, Suzan Noesen pieces together a compelling portrait of two women which delivers a real insight into the performativity and fluidity of personal identity.

Original title Livres d’Heures
Cast Yvonne Noesen-Ries, Suzan Noesen, Alina Faber, Yannis Meys
Writer and Director Suzan Noesen
Cinematographer Amandine Klee
Editor Pia Dumont
Sound Bruno Schweisguth
Music Georges Goerens
Set and Costume Michèle Tonteling
Producer Suzan Noesen, Yasin Özen
First Assistant Director Yasin Özen
Graphic Design Amel Kemmerich

Format DCP, colour
Lenght 25 min
First broadcast March 8th, 2019, 9th Luxembourg City Film Festival, Luxembourg

For a preview of the short film contact me here.

Realised with the support of