Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Heal the Living: Follow the Beating Heart
Limbres is a brain-dead teenager. Tragically, this is literally true in his
case. As the term implies, his heart is indeed still beating. Perhaps it will keep
pumping for someone on the transplant list, if the Le Havre hospital’s organ
donation team can convince Limbres’ parents and then harvest and transplant in
time. It is difficult to rush grieving parents like the Limbreses, but we also
meet the prospective recipient and her two highly concerned sons in Katell
Quillévéré’s Heal the Living (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
sleeping with his girlfriend, Limbres snuck out for some early morning surfing
with his mates. He would be the one who wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. By the
time Dr. Pierre Révol, the chief of surgery starts the morning shift, Limbres
is already gone. Frankly, he never had a chance. At this point, Thomas Rémige,
the transplant specialist, is the only doctor on staff who can still do some
good on Limbres’ case. However, the Limbres parents are really not ready to
have the discussion.
in Paris, Claire’s twentysomething sons have moved her into a flat directly
across the street from her hospital. Maxime and Sam bicker like cats and dogs,
but they both realize their mother is fading fast. She needs a heart, fast.
a way, Heal is a throwback to the
sort of earnest, humanistically engaged contemporary dramas Paddy Chayefsky and
Reginald Rose used to write during the Golden Age of television. However, Quillévéré’s
visual approach is surprisingly stylish, which is a nice bonus.
Seigner and Kool Shen (playing against his bad boy type) are pretty darned
devastating as the semi-estranged Limbres parents. Yet, the poignant way they
turn towards each other rather than away really elevates the film. Bouli
Lanners is realistically no-nonsense as Dr. Révol, whereas Tahar Rahim is
suitably awkward but sensitive as Rémige. However, it is Dominique Blanc who
really inspires confidence while also projecting a rather elegant,
sophisticated, and altogether French bedside manner as Claire’s doctor, Lucie
certainly wears its transplanted heart on its
sleeve, but it is not cheaply sentimental. Most of the cliched scenes you would
expect (like the Limbreses bitterly hurling recriminations at each other)
simply are not there, because Quillévéré & Gilles Taurand’s adaptation of
Maylis de Kerangal’s source novel goes in an entirely different direction.
Recommended for fans of medical dramas, Heal
the Living opens tomorrow (4/14) in New York, at the freshly reopened Quad Cinema.
Labels: French Cinema, Medical Dramas