Elle s’appelle Sabine / Her Name is Sabine

22 03 2010

Category; film/movie

Her name is Sabine, and she is Sandrine Bonnaire’s sister. Sandrine Bonnaire is a film star so her documentary was noticed.

Here’s the story; Sabine was not normal. She was beautiful, talented, wilful, but not normal…

She grew up as part of a big, poor family and things were not easy. As she matured it became more difficult for her family to look after her so she went into an institution.

She came out of that institution after 5 years and moved to a small, modern, and progressive home with staff who care about what they’re doing. But the years in the institution had left her wrecked. She is the shell of the person she had been before she went in.

The extraordinary thing is that we know this because Sandrine Bonnaire documented her sister. Compulsively, obsessively videoed her sister as she grew up. Was it a condition that was gradually getting worse? Would it have happened anyway? Or was it the institution?

Was she doing all that filming because she somehow feared her sister might slip away and wanted to capture something of her before she did?

I have a friend who has spent many years working with disabled, mentally handicapped and mentally ill people in France and he does not have much positive to say about many of the institutions he has worked with, but from the film it’s impossible to say what role the system had in her decline. It’s implied but no more.

The documentary suggests criticism of a system but it’s also a record of the connection between two sisters. You will  see few things that carry the emotional intensity of this documentary.

Below is a link to a trailer for the film, and underneath that, there is a link to watch the whole documentary.





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