2007 | 32mins | Colour
By Mieke Bal
single element from Nothing is Missing
Genre: Documentary / Installation Piece
Romanian with English subtitles
Elena is old, and busy on her farm in North-Eastern Romania, near the Ukraine border. Her only son emigrated to Canada. How do two people separated so drastically after a life together, speak to each other about just that? Every line says something important. The backdrop of it all is that her life is passing while her most precious boy is far away. That poverty and hardship go together cuts right through the romantic idealization culturally instilled in us through the aesthetics of the picturesque. The only way to turn a form of slavery into a modest but autonomous life is to buy land. And as Elena tells us, this is the trap: your life wastes away before you get anywhere. The monologue is interrupted now and then by the son who interviews her while she looks directly at him makes her also look into the camera behind which he sits. Thus, she also looks straight at the viewer. The portrait makes Elena appear as a strong, person, a loving mother and a lonely woman. This makes her representative of the mothers of migrants whose stories constitute the video installation _Nothing is Missing_, of which Elena is one instance; one voice.
Elena was shown at the following events:
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