In "Vanity", the Swiss writer and director Lionel Baier portrays a character who has cancer, uses the services of an association to help him die.
In an interview, Baier explained his reasons for choosing such a subject - to severe ante - and humorous way to treat it.
"Vanity" is David Miller (Patrick Lapp), an old man with cancer, which occurs in a hotel awaits Esperanza (Carmen Maura), a volunteer companion of assisted suicide association . But the evening did not go as planned, their neighbor's room, Treplev (Ivan Georgiev), a Russian prostitute, finding themselves involved, despite himself, in this situation.
"In Switzerland, people who help others to die are from civil society. They are part of the Exit association, portrayed in some incredible way in the film. These are people who have received additional training, but the companions or attendants could be you or anyone else, "said Lionel Baier, joined in Lausanne a few days before coming to Quebec to present the film.
If the subject is serious, treatment is light, something that Lionel Baier and Julien Bouissoux, the two writers had planned from the writing of the project. "I often find that comedy or a form of humor, that to laugh or smile in a movie, is a form of cinema courtesy. It is a way for the director or the director, to leave a distance. I felt that, as the matter is very serious, the seriousness of the treatment was not of good quality. "
"A lot of films that touched me address very serious issues, but stepping aside. And step aside just lets out social setting of the film. "Vanity" is not a film about assisted suicide, but the portrait of three. It also allows the viewer to step back and make his own opinion. "
"And that's what we said from the start with co-writer. There is an absurd side because nothing in our lives, prepares us to accompany someone that way. This is very new in the history of mankind we have to ask these questions, and I thought it had to generate a lot of very funny situations, "said Lionel Baier.
Part of the comic aspect of "Vanity" also comes from the fact that nothing goes as planned. "The character of David Miller is quite conceited. He must say that even to death, there is so much use law. But it does not work as expected, and it makes him crazy. "Quebec and the culture of debate ...
"I came to Montreal in October, while you were in discussion on the law on end of life care [Editor's note: ratified in 2014, but entered into force in December 2015]. What is very interesting about you, and what is also happening in France right now is that we feel that there is a pleasure to discuss, ask questions. "
"There, in Quebec, a culture of debate that is related to your history and is very strong, comment filmmaker. This culture that even if the law will lead to something, it is the result which is a real social questions. For the Swiss, the law is the administration daily. Here, the debate on assisted suicide is relatively little place. [...] She did not have the same impact philosophical, religious, etc. she had at home.
I feel that the discussion that you have conducted in Quebec will be more profitable in the long term. For the Swiss, when there is a problem, there is a law and voting. This is the very Swiss side that David possesses is very Protestant, very Calvinist. "
Lionel Baier and concluded: "For a lot of personal reasons, death is a concern inside me every day. It is true that we always feel that a topic such as euthanasia, assisted suicide or death is a subject that concerns only the elderly. At the same time, a relatively healthy lifestyle every day is to never hide the fact that we will die. Basically, I believe that when you love literature, film, music and all art forms is that we must deeply love death. If she was not there, if there was not an end, we would not want to escape into something which is not our time to live. "
"Vanity" took the show on 18 March.