De Moi des Cendres

Directors : Mathilde Huron & Julian Feeld / Editor : Summer Bowie - Shot 2014-2016 - Hi-8 - Documentary in post-production.

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French sixty-five year old Francette, despite not being terminally ill, finds herself slowly descending into deafness and blindness. Her niece accompanies her on a voyage that will lead them both to Belgium, a country whose laws might allow her to realize her only wish: an assisted death.

The two filmmakers follow the pair closely during their many border crossings and the interminable bureaucratic negotiations along the way. In the process, they learn more about the strange and complicated life that Francette has led, including a history of domestic violence and a stormy relationship with her biological daughter. Francette’s strong personality, intense love for her Yorkshire Terrier and dark sense of humor yield a series of fascinating and often surprisingly funny ruminations on death and spirituality.

Accompanying these four figures on their journey is the original music of Mohammed Lamouri, a near-blind musician whose beautiful and melancholy interpretations of musical standards from his native Algeria can often be heard on Line 2 of the Parisian metro where he busks for a living. What begins as an audacious documentary (filmed in the visual style of a home video) ends as a rendez-vous with death itself: the living, present for Francette’s passing, find themselves forced to reckon with its aftermath — and the nature of the movie itself.