Inconvenient Truth: “Elle s’appelle Sabine” (2007)


ellesappelle sabine 4

THE LOOK: Just what is going on behind the eyes of Sabine Bonnaire, the autistic younger sister of acclaimed French actress Sandrine Bonnaire, is never overtly explored, though her haunted stare leaves a discomforting impact which speaks volumes, in “Elle s’appelle Sabine”.

       “Elle s’appelle Sabine”  (2007)  

       Ideally the documentary form should present an objective point of view. How then to judge a film which by the very nature of the film maker’s intimate relationship with theellesappellesabineOS subject guarantees the intrusion of emotional subjectivity that might very well alter the foundation of, not only the conclusions of the film, but the very techniques employed by which such predetermined ends are reached? In such a case, are facts sufficiently colored by such a prejudicial perspective on the part of the film maker, that it might render the film’s deductions capable of question? 

   French actress Sandrine Bonnaire has chosen as the subject of her directorial debut a portrait of her younger autistic sister Sabine, who despite demonstrating remarkable proficiency in music and an enthusiasm for literature, athletic activity and travel (she loves America), is spirited away to a hospital at the age of 28, where in the five year period comprising her institutionalization, she undergoes a monstrous transformation rendering her barely able to function and in a semiconscious state. The tragedy blatantly illustrated in the film is in the stark counterpoint between the pre and post institutionalized Sabine in manner, behavior and appearance. To say that the contrasts are shocking does not do the crimes of negligence against this young woman justice; a point that is made repeatedly over and again with an unerring sense of shock value by the clearly rankled film maker.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in biography, Documentaries, French cinema, medicine, movie reviews, Movies, psychiatry, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Inconvenient Truth: “Elle s’appelle Sabine” (2007)

  1. beetleypete says:

    I had never heard about this documentary. It appears to be a very hard watch indeed.
    Great review, Chandler.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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