DRAMA / FRANCE / 2021 / 120 MIN / M
A man (Benoît Magimel, We’ll End Up Together, AF FFF20) condemned too young by a serious illness. The suffering of a mother (Catherine Deneuve, Happy Birthday, AF FFF20; Claire Darling, AF FFF19) facing the unbearable. The dedication of a doctor (Dr. Gabriel Sara) and a nurse (Cécile de France, also starring in this year’s Lost Illusions) to accompany them on the impossible path to acceptance.
Writer and director Emmanuelle Bercot initially set out to explore the undying connection between a mother and her child, but through a chance encounter with Dr. Gabriel Sara, a dedicated cancer specialist who plays himself, the story of Peaceful unfolds like the stages of grief itself. Bercot chose to combine the realistic with the philosophical in this devastatingly beautiful tragedy, that leans on Sara’s real-life experiences and Magimel’s transformative performance, to convey the slow and poignant loosening of the mortal coil.
Peaceful is a touching story of the process of engaging in a ‘dance’ with the disease, trying to tame it, and coming to understand what it means to be dying while still living. A deeply moving film that examines the vulnerability of humanity and will leave audiences thinking ‘what would I do in that situation?’
CÉCILE DE FRANCE
FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Venice, selected for best actress