De son vivant

Gripping French drama about a forty-year-old cancer patient who refuses to face the fact that he is incurably ill. With Catherine Deneuve as his mother.

Please note that this film is in French, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

The story of the last year of Benjamin’s life, a forty-year-old man suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer. Benjamin is admitted to an unorthodox cancer clinic where music is an integral part of palliative care, which he - as an actor and theatre teacher - can handle better than many. The clinic is run by Dr. Eddé, played by a real oncologist. With his matter-of-fact, realistic contribution, he counterbalances all the sentimental aspects of the film.

Meanwhile, Benjamin goes through the stages associated with a terminal illness: denial, resistance, bargaining and finally resignation. ‘Mum, I’m screwed,’ he sighs to his mother. She stands by him as best she can throughout this journey, but her pain and her powerlessness against the inevitable are palpable throughout.

Magimel and Deneuve again play brilliant roles in their collaboration with director Bercot. But most impressive is Dr. Gabriel Sara, the oncologist, who plays an understated, heroic version of himself. He gives the story not only a benevolent warmth, but also a lucid view of the medical professional’s role in the transition from life to death – a view based on harsh experience. (bw)

Emmanuelle Bercot, France, 2021, 123 min. French spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, Gabriel Sara, Cécile de France, Lou Lampros.