“Light a Candle For Me” Part 1

When we first went to Pere Lachaise we all felt as if we were in a museum, not a place of death and grief. You observed the beautiful graves, and wondered the paths, occasionally stopping to read a name or two. I think because of all of this a lot of us were thinking of the typical motifs of a cemetery as a way to sort of add emotion since it is a beautiful place to be in as if you were in a park or museum, yet it’s still where one must be respectful of mortality. We did pull out a few of these typical signs of a cemetery, candles, and flowers, in addition to the houses that stuck us as semi-symbolic of Pere Lachaise, adding to the idea that it is almost like a tiny town. Tamara also really noticed the flowers and pointed out that it was a common thread throughout all of our cultures/backgrounds, Chinese, Catholic, Judaism, and hers, Druze/Catholique. I noted that flowers are often not appreciated in Judaism because basically, they die, so giving to someone grieving, or in the period of Shiva, is disrespectful. In the westernization and assimilation, Jewish people have been through this does vary, especially in reform communities in the U.S. Nonetheless, the flowers became a sort of metaphor for death in the piece, along with the fall/melting of the wax house. This wax house was also meant to reflect not only death but lack of upkeep of many of these “little houses.” Many of them were literally crumbling in the same way pieces of our house fell down in the video. The house was being melted by a single candle in the middle of it to refer to a common thread throughout all our cultures of lighting candles in relation different the traditions of death. We also noticed in that the second time we went back the weather was much nicer and thus changed our perception of Pere Lachaise. We wanted to emulate this by changing the light in the video, which we did both physically during the shoot and during editing. Lastly we added quotes from each of our writings for seminar to create a narrative and add another layer to the video.

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