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SXSW Film

Les Signes Vitaux/Vital Signs

Narrative Feature, Emerging Visions
D: Sophie Deraspe; with Marie-Hélène Bellavance, Francis Ducharme, Marie Brassard, Danielle Ouimet, Suzanne St-Michel, Alan Fawcett, Marc Marans, Bernard Arène

This French-Canadian production is a delicate study of human fragility. Following the unexpected death of her grandmother, Simone (Bellavance) abandons her graduate studies in biology to volunteer as a hospice attendant, mystifying her boyfriend, Boris (Ducharme), while forming intense but passing bonds with dying patients. "It's a rare intimacy to share their dying moments," she tells him, although, in an achingly intelligent performance by Bellavance, she simultaneously approaches the experience with nearly a scientist's dispassion. Writer/director Deraspe films Simone's tale with similar objectivity, recounting it in very brief, suggestive scenes and only a few moments of extended dialogue (Simone's one attempt to verbally soften the death blow for a family member immediately backfires). Simone's personal story and uncertain love affair interweave with the brief tales of the various patients and give a sense of intensified consequences for each human action – perhaps partly Simone's motivation in attending to the dying.


Friday, March 19, 1pm, Lamar 2

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Les Signes Vitaux / Vital Signs

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