HEAL THE LIVING
(REPARER LES VIVANTS)
KATELL QUILLEVERE | FRANCE | 2016 | 104 MIN
Sprawling ensemble drama Heal the Living features some of France’s best actors (including The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’s Emmanuelle Seigner and Mommy’s Anne Dorval), yet the true star of this consistently surprising film isn’t a recognizable actor—It’s a human heart. That heart belongs to Simon, a 17-year-old boy left brain dead after an accident early in the film. What follows is an examination of the way this tragic event ripples across the lives of various other characters: Simon’s grief-stricken parents, the doctors and nurses at the hospital, and finally Claire (Dorval), a middle-aged woman in dire need of a heart transplant but torn by the idea that a young boy’s death might mean her only hope for survival. Director Katell Quillévére approaches this potentially heavy material with a subtle touch, and the resulting film is visually striking, genuinely moving, and profoundly insightful about the way moments of beauty and quiet grace occur even amidst tragedy. For a film that starts with a death, what’s most striking about Heal the Living is how vividly it captures the bittersweet chaos of being alive.
Cast: Anne Dorval, Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, Bouli Lanners