In April 2013, I heard that Halina, a previous colleague and friend was in a hospice dying of cancer. A few days later, I was flying from Canada to Berlin to film and document her last weeks. I filmed her with friends and family, with nurses and therapists, I interviewed her, and filmed her surroundings. Three weeks later, I returned to follow her to a studio north of Berlin where she had organized a bed, a doctor and night nurse to care for her so she could experience the rural arts festival that takes place there every year, and say goodbye to friends. These days were full of adventure and poignant moments. She passed away a week after I left her.
Working with the material has been a profound and life-changing journey. How do we choose to live with the inevitable presence of death? Most of us ignore it until, like in Halina’s case, it makes itself known.
The film looks at Halina’s attitude towards death, her questions and her fears. She strives to understand, change and learn, despite pain and disappointments, right to the end, and her love of life and beauty fills the story. She finds a way to die her own death, in acceptance, in forgiveness, even in joy.
Julie Le Gal, director