EN - How do you live after suicide? Through a series of poetic still lifes, documentary filmmaker Nathalie Basteyns paints a moving portrait of families struggling with this question. One lost a son, Freek, 10 years ago; another a daughter, Eva, barely a year before filming. Stefaan, a former Olympic swimmer who survived his attempt, completes the triptych. Life goes on for those left behind but, in many respects, life has also stopped. But as Stefaan looks towards the future, so too do the families of Eva and Freek. What started out as a film about loss and grief gradually develops into a life-affirming story of courage and survival.

FR - Comment vivre après le suicide d’un proche ? A travers une série d’exemples poétiques, la réalisatrice de documentaires Nathalie Basteyns dresse un portrait émouvant de familles qui se battent avec cette question. Une famille a perdu un fils, Freek, il y a dix ans. Une autre famille a perdu une fille, Eva, à peine un an avant le tournage du film. Stefaan, un ancien nageur aux jeux Olympiques, qui a survécu à ses tentatives de suicide, complète ce triptyque. La vie continue pour ceux qui restent.  Pendant une décennie ou juste un an, ils semblent avoir mis leur vie entre parenthèse. Mais tout comme Stefaan, les familles d’Eva et de Freek regardent vers l’avenir. Et ce qui s’annonçait comme un film sur le deuil et la douleur prend finalement la forme d’une histoire sur le courage et la survie.

Info

Title Still
Original title Stil levend
Original language Flemish
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Docs
Year 2011

Credits

Photography Anton Mertens
Editing Neel Cockx
Music Kaada, Jeroen Swinnen

Technical specs

Running time film 48'
Release format Red
Aspect ratio 1:1.77
Sound format Vital Tilborgs, Toon Echelpoels
Colour Colour

Partners

Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Canvas

Beginning at the End

Death comes to all of us, but remains a taboo subject for many people. Three Flemish documentary filmmakers have ventured into this sensitive territory and emerged with striking films about the end of life. They discuss the challenges of documenting death.

Text Ian Mundell

Still Claire, Me And My BrotherAll three filmmakers had personal reasons for beginning their projects. 'When I was very young I was scared of death,' says Maris De Smedt, whose film Claire, Me and My Brother follows the last months of a teenage girl. 'I would wake up worried about when I was going to die, and worry if my heart was still beating. I wanted to make a film about being confronted with death, so that perhaps I could live with another idea of it in the future.'

Similar anxieties motivated Nathalie Basteyns, whose film Still is about suicide. 'As a child I always feared that someone I loved would go away,' she recalls. 'Suicide was even worse, because I think it is a very lonely act.'

For Manno Lanssens the impetus came from seeing his grandmother's difficult final year. 'It was not a very nice way to die, so I asked myself: is there a good way to die? And that was the start of the project.' His documentary Epilogue, which received its world première at Visions du Réel in Nyon, follows a woman with terminal cancer as she spends her last months at home, surrounded by her family.

Published on Friday 29 July 2011

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Last edited on 31 October 2014

Short info

Director Nathalie Basteyns
Producers Kaat Beels, Nathalie Basteyns
Writers Nathalie Basteyns
Contact

Visjes Films
Nathalie Basteyns
Stalingradlaan 22
1000 Brussels
Belgium
T +32 (0)475 47 98 43
natalibas@hotmail.com

Preferential partners