“306 Hollywood is best when it gets either very scientifically dry, or reaches beyond its liminal cuteness into ambitious visual poetry, as in a scene where a half-dozen brunette dancers whirl in Annette’s tailor-made clothing, or a closing stretch where actors lip-sync arguments the Bogaríns caught on tape. These moments aren’t made of objects. They’re made of people in motion. And they prove that no collection of junk treasures can ever compare to the real deal.”  – Sundance Film Review, Variety 

306 HOLLYWOOD

Screening in partnership with Big Read Lakeshore

NOVEMBER 14, 2018
FREE FILM

At 11:59PM on June 4th, 2011 Annette Ontell passed away in a hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Her family, who had seen her just that afternoon, rushed from NYC to find her dead body still warm.

Annette lived 71 years in a modest house at 306 Hollywood Ave. We, her grandchildren, inherit the house and its thousands of objects. Overwhelmed, our mother tells us: “Sell the house, throw everything out.”

After someone dies, their personal objects take on their personhood. Everyone who has lost a loved one says the same thing. It is almost mystical – and kind of ridiculous. We used to have a grandmother. Now we have her house full of junk.

We have to make a decision. What are we going to do with the mountains of stuff?

Against all rational thinking, we decide to keep the house and embark on an epic excavation – a journey to discover what life remains in the objects left behind.

The story unfolds in a cinematic language of documentary and fiction, with myth and fairy tale as inspiration. Using a technique called “normalized magic,” we explore this world where the day-to-day collapses with the wondrous. The house, once familiar, transforms into a magical-realist landscape: the living room becomes a forest, the basement an archeological site, the house a scale model, and a train travels through the kitchen.

Ten years of interviews with Annette, ages 83-93, provide a remarkably honest and humorous reflection on life from an age rarely represented. Inspired by the work of Agnes Varda and Wes Anderson, Annette’s stories are woven together with stylized documentation of the house and its objects.

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About the Event

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