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Thread: Anyone seen the movie "Lourdes"?

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Default Anyone seen the movie "Lourdes"?

    "Lourdes" came out in 2009. It's a really fine movie, IMO, especially in the way it shows a person with MS.

    It's fiction but the young woman who plays the main character does an exceptionally good acting job.

    It isn't making a statement in favor of Lourdes or against it.

    If anyone has seen it, I'd like to know your opinion of it.

    It's in French but has English subtitles.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Distinguished Community Member SalpalSally's Avatar
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    I've not seen the movie, but I googled it and read what the story is about and th good reviews. It looks like something I'd love to see. Not crazy about watching dubbed movies, but this one may be worth it.

    Yes it is not a religious movie per say and seems to have a few great moments in it.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
    Love, Sally


    "The best way out is always through". Robert Frost







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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Sally, the version I watched had subtitles, no dubbing. A few parts of the religious service were actually in English.

    And it's not a really "talky" movie.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    No I haven't seen this movie but it sounds good. Thanks for posting about it.

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    One thing I especially like about this board is that you can drag up old threads if you want to. Usually it's frowned on but just now, when things tend to be slow, I thought maybe I could get away with pulling this thread up.

    I wrote about this movie in another place, and I'll paste my comments here in case anyone is interested. I'm editing them slightly.

    Caution: If you don't like knowing what happens in a movie before you see it, and you haven't seen this one yet, it might be best to skip the rest of this post:

    "Lourdes" might have been a movie promoting the idea of Lourdes as a helpful resource for those who are suffering.

    But it isn't. It gives us Lourdes, probably pretty much as it really is, but the story being told is just as important.

    The focus is on Christine, a young woman with MS who is paralyzed to the point where someone else has to feed her. We see her smiling politely and being generally receptive to the Lourdes experience, even though she acknowledges at one point that she's been on lots of pilgrimages because they're her one chance to get out.

    We also see her looking longingly at an attractive young man on the staff--and being fully and sadly aware when a young woman on the staff reaches surreptitiously for the same young man's hand.

    The movie doesn't state it but the point is made: this is what she's missing, and it's a lot.

    When she says she is angry because she's been singled out to have this disease while others aren't--because she can't have a normal life, the priest listening to her confession lectures her by reminding her that every life is of value, every life is unique.

    These statements can't seem very convincing, but she accepts them, just as she accepts everything else around her, including the announcement that one day's plans include a mountain-climbing expedition but that it's for the more able-bodied only--those in wheelchairs can't go. The sad unfairness of this isn't pointed out but surely anyone watching the movie would realize that a place designed for the very ill, with events planned for their stay there, ought not to set up outings that exclude some of the pilgrims.

    When one of the attendants has collapsed and been carried off on a stretcher, to hover between life and death offstage, Christine gets a chance to go on the mountain-climbing trip after all, but only because of her own miraculous recovery.

    After being anointed with the healing waters of Lourdes, she wakes up at night and finds she can walk. She can feed herself, reach for things.

    Every possible miracle has to be recorded and verified, and she is sent to a doctor there at Lourdes, who tells her that her disease has probably gone into remission because it is in the nature of the disease. However, it is faintly possible that she has had a miraculous cure.

    On that hopeful thought, the group photo that was just taken with her in her wheelchair is retaken with her standing.

    However, though she walks, her gait isn't so very steady, and then she falls down on the dance floor.

    A possible budding romance between the attractive employee and Christine is already showing signs of decay as we see him subtly backing away, as if he has been happy about her recovery and willing to play along with her enthusiasms briefly, but that will be as far as it goes.

    A woman has been standing by with Christine's empty wheelchair all the while though Christine insists she doesn't need it. After the fall on the dance floor, though, we see that she has returned to it. Yes, she can walk--but she is accepting the limitations imposed by her multiple sclerosis.

    What is especially wonderful about this movie is that it clearly shows what it is about MS that is often hard for people to understand--how someone who can still walk might need a wheelchair anyway.

    Many people have the idea that the only people who ought to use a wheelchair are those who can't walk at all, ever. If someone in a wheelchair stands up and walks, an onlooker is apt to accuse the person of being a fraud.

    Christine's story as portrayed in "Lourdes" shows why this is such a sadly misguided idea, based on ignorance.

    The movie didn't set out to make this point, I'm sure, but it incidentally does so beautifully.

    What matters in the story is that Christine is coming to terms with her disease. She has found out that there may be times when she won't be as disabled as she was at first. It's no miraculous cure but for her it's a vast improvement.

    She seems to harbor no illusions about being "special" even if many of the Lourdes pilgrims prefer to view her improvement as a sign of God's grace.

    Here and there in the movie there are signs of a deep cynicism about Lourdes even among the clergy who have an important part in the operation of its activities. But the note of cynicism is sounded very, very softly. The movie shows Lourdes as a place visited by so many pilgrims that their time is organized by a vast staff of attendants, a place where very desperate people come with their faith and hope.

    Sylvie Testud as Christine has an attractive face and manner and a radiant smile. Christine isn't an especially pious pilgrim. She's clearly a believing Catholic who is eager to try anything that might help. She has no aspirations to prominence as someone touched by St. Bernadette in any special way. She wants to get on with a normal life.

    We come away fearing that her life may not be as normal as she'd like but hoping that at least she'll have more of a life than she was having at the start of the film.

    There is a brief but telling exchange toward the end of the film between one of the more disabled pilgrims and a Lourdes functionary:

    Pilgrim (alluding to the fact that this day is the last day of the pilgrimage): But tomorrow I'll be alone again.

    Lourdes functionary: We are not alone.

    Pilgrim: We are.
    Last edited by agate; 12-30-2011 at 09:34 AM.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Distinguished Community Member renee's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting.
    I survived The Butterfly and the Belljar (title correct?)
    One very dark subject at times hilarious.
    Should read the book.

    All my dvd's at home are currently subtitled foreign.

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    Hi Renee, agate.

    The book is "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." It is a true story written by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby after a stroke. The diving bell refers to the "iron lung" and the butterfly refers to his mind's wanderings. It also describes "locked-in syndrome."

    He wrote the book by blinking.

    I thought it was excellent.
    ANN
    Last edited by stillstANNding; 12-31-2011 at 02:03 PM.
    There comes a time when silence is betrayal.- MLK

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    I started watching "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" but am sorry to say I gave up on it. I'll give it another try.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Distinguished Community Member renee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the correction.

    Sylvia Plath made me do it.

    I'd be cursing the nurse, too, if she turned
    off my soccer game and didn't ask
    my eyelid if I wanted to watch.
    Last edited by renee; 12-30-2011 at 11:21 PM.

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    Agate, I did not se the movie. I only read the book. I usually don't see a movie of a book that I have read as I already have pics in my head of the characters. Often, I do not like the casting for the movie version of books.:(

    Renee, I have a collection of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. I call it my "put your head in the oven" collection.
    ANN
    There comes a time when silence is betrayal.- MLK

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