On the death of Heddy Honigmann – an obituary

Poet of the moment

Heddy Honigmann in NO HAY CAMINO (Netherlands 2021)
Dear Heddy,
het is zo akelig stil op dit moment. Een stilte, die hard aanvoelt.
... it is hard to grasp what we have lost today. A filmmaker who showed us a way, who was always that one little step ahead? A storyteller who allowed us to re-enter our world on screen? A quiet voice, distinct, gentle and clear. What were those stories? Themes, places, people that are part of the usual flotsam of our world, but through your voice, your films, found a place on the screen and thus in our memories. What a privilege.
And what a life: Lima, where you were born, where you made your first and your last film. Mexico, Israel, Italy. You've always been a restless one. And then the city that shaped you like no other: Amsterdam. How do we put your signature into the appropriate words: attentive? Wondering? How do I describe what defines you as a filmmaker? The persistent? The upright?
You didn't seek fame. And yet: retrospectives from Munich to the MoMa in New York. Awards, national and worldwide. The Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival awarded you the title of "living legend". How fitting. And how ironically far removed from what moved you. On your path, on your trail.
What could our parting words be: 'No hay camino'? No, there is no path. You have shown us that time and time again in over 30 of your works. There is no path, except the trace we leave in this life. Thank you for this find. Thank you for the hours we spent together in front of the big screens, in which we were allowed to dive into realities that only you were able to show us. Thank you for your listening, your questions. Not only to your protagonists. Your questions were always questions for us. Heddy, I know you will hate me for calling you a magician. But your cinema... has always been magical. From the first METAL AND MELANCHOLY to NO HAY CAMINO.
Now you've gone, surrounded by your family, we hear from Amsterdam. It's quiet here.
Beste Heddy, dank je wel.
Heddy Honigmann is survived by her husband, son and stepson.
Jan Sebening