D'une rive à l'autre
CH 2009 53'
A moving image of the palliative-care nursing home Rive-Neuve on Lake Leman, where the prospect of death is handled with humanity.
Staying in a nursing home often becomes a nightmare for seriously ill people, because there is only little room for patience and humanity in these institutions. But it is exactly these qualities that are emphasised in the nursing home Rive-Neuve. This foundation, which is located on Lake Geneva, is one of the best-known palliative care institutions. Psychological care and preparing the patients for death have priority over healing them.
In her film RIVE NEUVE - LA NUIT (1998), filmmaker Aline Brechbühl accompanied the nursing staff on their night shift in this same nursing home. With D'UNE RIVE A L'AUTRE, she resumes this documentation ten years later. She unobtrusively follows the exchanges between the nursing staff and the patients. Closely, yet always respectfully, she observes the mostly painful daily life of these protagonists. The camera discreetly shoots the alternative nursing methods used. It often becomes the gentle escort in this – often last – period of their lives. With trembling hands, a terminally ill man moulds his self-portrait during art therapy. It is a figure with limp legs. Attached to batteries, it precariously hangs off the side of the table. “I wish him courage”, the sick man declares emotionally to his therapist. Being face to face with death and admitting pain: these are difficult, yet essential goals in a place where two or three people die a week. Whenever it happens, a candle is lit at the entrance, and all the other patients know that they could be next.
Visions du Réel Nyon 2009