Project Description

Véréna Paravel

Portrait of Véréna Paravel

FSC-Harvard Fellow 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12
FSC-Radcliffe Fellow 2012-13

Véréna Paravel is a Frieda L. Miller Fellow and FSC-Radcliffe Fellow from France. Her project, Pavor Nocturnus is a feature-length experimental non-fiction film about sleep, or more particularly an empirical inquiry into the quotidian process of going-to-sleep. The film explores the physical gestures and subjective fantasies and fears of people as they prepare for sleep. It contains an edge of sexual tension – of play around the fraught landscape of flesh, vulnerability, and intimacy – but it engages equally with boredom and the banal, semi-conscious routines of bedtime. The film will bring together a series of sequences that reflect on fear, loneliness, obsession, desire, voyeurism, the ambiguous and the influencing power of the camera, and the impulse to connect with others, both though media and apart from them.

FSC Works

Film Still from Foreign Parts

Foreign Parts

Verena Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki, US, HD, color, 80 min. (2010)

A sprawling industrial zone comprised of numerous junkyards and auto salvage shops, the area in Queens, New York called Willets Point is a crevice of decayed America far from first-world affluence, even if, geographically, that First World is located literally only metres away: the area is currently slated for demolition to create a “tourist zone” next to the baseball New York Mets’ new stadium. This is a minority world of recycled refuse, where both the used cars and the system itself are in states of rusted disrepair.

Verena Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki’s observational work of salvage anthropology gives a face to both the amazingly photogenic neighbourhood (earlier given life onscreen in Rahman Bahrani’s fictional Chop Shop) and its colourful community, for a large part comprised of Puerto Rican immigrants, homeless men and women, and runaways barely managing to scrape by. Shot on and off over three years, through scalding summers and frigid winters, the eye-opening Foreign Parts deserves to stand alongside the best of Wiseman in its attention to the daily functioning of a societal substratum, and the keen manner by which its directors dissect a sharp world of indelible sights and sounds.
– Mark Perenson.

Foreign Parts had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it was awarded both the Best First Feature award and the CINE CINEMA Special Jury Prize. The New York Film Festival hosted the US premiere, and since then it has gone on to screen at festivals and venues around the world, including the San Francisco Film Festival, the VIENNALE, Punto de Vista, the MOMA, the Mexico City International Film Festival, Cinema du Reel, BAFICI, and Festival dei Popoli, where it won the Best Ethno-Anthropological Film award.

Film Still from Leviathan


Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, 87 min. 2012

In the very waters where Melville’s Pequod gave chase to Moby Dick, Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine. Shot on a dozen cameras — tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker — it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.