In Ondrea Barbe’s Constant Fleeting (2019), the filmmaker chronicles her urgent reconciliation with her alcoholic mother before her mother’s untimely death from breast cancer in 2014. Utilizing various forms of media––including home movies, video diaries, audio cassette recordings, phone calls and photographs––this feature-length documentary examines multigenerational trauma, motherhood, and death from a perspective that is uniquely familial and female.
"Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.” Adrienne Rich
Pollock Pines, CA
Set on the periphery of the El Dorado National Forest, the city of Pollock Pines (pop. 6,871) lies in a veritable no-man’s land between the smoggy congestion of Sacramento and the cool blue of Lake Tahoe. From 2011 to early 2014, Barbe and her son, Cory, traveled there to document her newly reconciled relationship with her Mother, the resulting footage draws tight their complex mother/daughter binary while also posing questions about the authority and authenticity in those persuasive storytelling tools, memory and memento.
Core to Barbe’s documentary process is her reliance on the camera as witness/confessor/protector. There is the detritus of her mother’s home: the magazines, the stacks of pillows and stuffed animals, the photo albums––piled haphazardly like the accumulation of so many wasted days, like so many un-reconciled memories. The tension Barbe creates visually between her mother’s dark and cluttered interior and the rugged expanse of the outside world serves as an accurate metaphor for the film’s own leitmotif: the struggle to release the trauma of the past and embrace the beauty of the right now