Red Boat Crossing

Jeanne C. Finley

2024 | 00:38:55 | United States / France | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: New Releases, Single Titles

Tags: Family, History, Memory

Sixty-five years after the Allied invasion of Southern France, the director's mother, Cecily Barker Finley, tries to recall her involvement as a social worker aboard a WWII Red Cross ship. These memories are recorded in letters and phone calls with her daughter who is living on the coast of France where the invasion occurred. After her mother dies, she discovers a trunk, unopened since the 1940’s in the family garage that is filled with her mother's Red Cross memorabilia. By carefully documenting the trunk's contents, missing pieces of the invasion story begin to come into focus. Yet, despite a mountain of facts and photographs, mysteries persist about family, war, and what it means to be a hero.

Red Boat Crossing combines Mrs. Finley’s recollections with The Historical Record of the invasion of Southern France, written by the captain of the ship. Mrs. Finley’s frustration with her inability to recall all the facts infuses the daughter’s own memories with the impact WWII. Contemporary footage shot at the invasion’s location is layered with archival footage from the Red Cross and Cecily Barker’s personal artifacts discovered in the trunk. A small house at the invasion site that the mother looked at while aboard the Red Cross ship, and from which the daughter looked towards the sea 65 years later, situate the two visual experiences. Together these materials explore the mystery of one woman’s experience of international combat during WWII.

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Ethnograph Film Festival

Exhibitions + Festivals

Fotografiska Museum, Shanghai, China, 2024