A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

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An intimate and metaphorical portrait of a man who rebuilds his life after a terrible accident

Press release


Ariel, a film by Laura Bari
Produced by Parabola Films, in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada

and in association with Beso Film

Opening March 28, 2014, at Cinéma Excentris in Montreal

Montreal, March 5, 2014 – The latest film from Laura Bari (the director of Antoine) opens at Montreal's Cinéma Excentris on March 28. This theatrical engagement comes on the heels of the film's premiere at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) and screenings at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) last fall. Ariel, produced by Parabola Films (Sarah Spring and Selin Murat), in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada (Nathalie Cloutier) and in association with Beso Film (Laura Bari), covers 10 years in the life of a man who lost both his legs in a terrible workplace accident. Over the course of the decade, he embarks on an exercise that is both exhilarating and superhuman: he attempts to build his own prosthetic legs. It's a journey filled with obstacles as he tries to overcome his physical condition and, to a certain extent, the human condition.

Director, writer, cinematographer and editor: Laura Bari
Music by Florencia Di Concilio

Laura Bari's previous film, Antoine (2009), shone the spotlight on a blind five-year-old schoolboy who becomes a private eye and collector of sounds. With Ariel, she once again offers us an introspective film that plumbs the depths of the human spirit.
When Ariel was just 33 years old, his legs were shredded by the industrial dough mixer he was repairing. From that point on, he began to rediscover the meaning of freedom: to rebuild his broken identity, keep his family together and design his own artificial legs. He begins a long journey towards transhumanity, becoming a living embodiment of the ongoing duel between man and machine.

In capturing the gradual transformation of a person undergoing an identity crisis, the filmmaker invites us to expand the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, between the known and the unknown, and to confront our notions of difference.

Through poetic dream sequences touching on the absurdity of the inner world, Bari evokes the battle between man and machine. Employing imaginative camera work, she slowly reveals Ariel—his thoughts and his past, his hopes and fears—as he travels through vast dreamscapes that contrast with his real-world lack of mobility. Bringing together the cinematic languages of direct cinema, essay and experimental film, Bari's film works on multiple levels, marrying the visible and the invisible. The filmmaker digs deep into the backstory, for instance with a short animated segment on the history of prostheses through the ages and across cultures, adding richness to this magical story that captures the multifaceted nature of life.

Bari cinematically juxtaposes the various aspects of Ariel's personality by inviting him to explore the source of his memories. Through imagined and hypothetical stagings, installations, sculptures and dance, Ariel rediscovers elements of his personal story and the places of his past. He reorganizes his dreams, his desires, his fears, his memories and his present. By freeing his emotions, he unlocks his creative mind to discover new ideas. The filmmaker applies her unique approach to the soundtrack as well, collaborating with renowned composer Florencia Di Concilio, whose credits include Alain Monne's film L'homme de chevet, starring Sophie Marceau and Christophe Lambert. Working from a few poems written by Bari, the pair create an ephemeral and at times dissonant soundscape that constitutes one of the narratives of the film.

Ariel is a touching tale in which a man's precarious emotional balance illuminates his unique metamorphosis.

About the director

Originally from Mendoza, Argentina, Laura Bari studied Science of Education at the National University of Cuyo, Argentina, before going on to earn a degree in the psychopathology of expression—a form of art therapy—at Université du Québec à Montréal. A self-taught filmmaker who directs, produces, writes, shoots and edits her own films, Bari uses film to bring together arts, culture and mental health. She bears witness to ordinary individuals living exceptional lives and captures their transformation. Her first feature, Antoine (2009), is a poetic portrait that chronicles the real and imaginary life of a blind five-year-old boy who is fully integrated into the school system, and who becomes a self-styled private eye, collecting sounds that make up the film's soundtrack. A tribute to the ability to overcome adversity, the film was shown at numerous festivals and won over a dozen awards. Her new film, Ariel (2013), is an intimate and metaphorical portrait of a man rebuilding his identity after a terrible accident. Revealing once again the power of imagination through her unique artistic approach, Bari pushes the boundaries between the real and the unreal.

About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Canadian Screen Awards, 7 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.


For more information :

Marie Marais                      
Publicist for the NFB                   
Tel.: 514-845-2821                    
Cell: 438-933-2821                      
E-mail: marais@cooptel.qc.ca
Lily Robert
Director, Corporate Communications, NFB
Tel.: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261         
E-mail: l.robert@onf.ca