French actress sheds light on autism

Having worked in a day camp where at least one in nine children have special needs, I have come to one conclusion and that is there is no simple solution out there to fully integrate them into society. Being born with autism, Down syndrome, or even severe attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a burden that affects not just the child but everyone around them.

Having worked in a day camp where at least one in nine children have special needs, I have come to one conclusion and that is there is no simple solution out there to fully integrate them into society.
Being born with autism, Down syndrome, or even severe attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a burden that affects not just the child but everyone around them. For them to have the slightest chance to function as a “normal” person would, everyone from the parents to the child’s classmates need to provide a suitable environment in which the child can excel.
In some cases, people born with special needs have been able to integrate despite their disabilities, however, the reality remains many born with handicaps have a hard time overcoming it. That is the case of Sabine Bonnaire, the main character of Sandrine Bonnaire’s first documentary, Elle s’appelle Sabine.
Sandrine, a decorated French Actress remembered for her roles in Est/Ouest and La Cérémonie, decided to create a documentary based on her 38- year-old younger sister Sabine who has been diagnosed with autism.
Sabine was born with the mental illness but was never properly diagnosed or treated until recently. Her sister, who happens to have the closest relationship with Sabine, was the first to realize she was special during childhood. But, the issue was buried under the rug since it was a taboo topic at the time.
Even with such adversity, Sabine was jovial and going about her business without a care in the world until their older brother passed away. After the tragic event, their mother moved way from the family’s Paris residence to Provence. Sabine felt abandoned and became increasingly violent; to the point at which Sandrine, along with the other siblings, did not know how to handle her. At this point she entered the psychiatric ward for five years and the impact of the stay was devastating. Sabine had become a shell of her former self, she lost her will to live, was constantly drugged and had grown overweight.
It was during these hard times Sandrine had the idea to film the desperate state of her sister.
“I got the idea [for filming] after she had been hospitalized for a year,” said Bonnaire in a recent press conference at the Ex-Centris theatre for her Festival du Nouveau Cinéma premiere. “At first two sides existed, some (family members) said I should go for it, others were dead against it. After I first showed it to them when it was complete, they all agreed it was a good thing”.
There were no signs of improvement upon Sabine’s return home. The Bonnaires, looking desperately for help, found a new home specialized in mental illnesses taking in only a few select cases. Today Sabine is doing better, she lost weight and is taking half of the drugs she was prescribed at the psychiatric ward.
“I wanted to make a portrait of her. It was not a film about the illness, not the two sisters. It’s really a portrait,” Bonnaire emphasized. “Even though there are other people, they all live with her and the film always goes back to her. I thought it was important to have a direct image of her.”
The film itself was heart warming, by the end you come to really sympathize with the Bonnaires. The shooting was excellent for a first-time documentary filmmaker, all the images spoke for themselves with a sad tone. Yet, Sandrine’s short narratives truly helped bring to light the condition of those with special needs in France. For anyone curious of mental illnesses or shooting techniques, this is a must see.
lle s’appelle Sabine opens Nov. 2.

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

Habs Report: Week 2 had fans up and down

Next Article

Friends don't censor Friends - unless you're Friendster

Related Posts

WWII epic shows the life of a soldier

"A fictional life based on a factual death." So begins Sam Fuller's sprawling WWII epic, "The Big Red One". The film follows the first infantry brigade in a series of vignettes; from their landing in North Africa, to a battle in Sicily where they square off against snipers, to the blood-soaked beaches of Normandy for D-Day and on across Europe, finally ending in a Czech concentration camp.

Can the Internet make you rich?

Imagine making money while you sleep. Imagine waking up richer every morning than when you went to bed the night before. Imagine receiving streams of money from people all over the world. Imagine a business that operates on automatic pilot - whether you show up or not.