Confronted with the SARS-CoV-2 crisis, we had to cancel the 25th edition of the festival in May 2020, including this project.

Heureux Séjour

11. 12/05 > 18:30
13/05 > 11:00 & 15:30 > Debate

FR - Subtitles: FR & EN - 52’ -

“If I hadn’t had my camera, I wouldn’t have dared look at them so closely. There was a kind of uneasiness, discomfort, fear… Then behind the eyepiece – less cowardly, as if protected – I wanted to see and hear the silences and the stories, outside time. See and hear my grandmother and her ‘neighbours’ in the rest home prepare themselves to depart from life and head for death”.

Direction & Image : Marta Bergman

Assistant to the director : Paola Stevenne

With : Mina (my grandmother) Léa, Bella, Madame Toledo, Madame Hayatt, Madame Szafran, Madame Galante, Madame Berlinska, Madame Rappel, André Reinitz, Myriam Fucks, Aldo, Ida, Maud, Jean-Claude, Diane, Madame Etienne, Emilia, Kathy, the ‘hairdressers’, the staff and the senior citizens of l'Heureux Séjour.

Sound : Frédéric Meert

Image Editing : Anne De Jaer

Sound Editing : Frédéric Meert

Mixing : Jacques Clisse

Image assistant : Sébastien Koeppel

Format : Amaury de L’Escaille

Autocue : Magdalena Serna (Imagique)

Subtitles : Rachel Russo

Calibration : Michael Faber

Studio editing : RTBF, Luna Blue Film (avid), Aléa Jacta Postproduction

Assurance : Olivier Héger

Production : Luna Blue Film

Executive producer : Serge Kestemont

Coproduction : RTBF Bruxelles, CBA (Centre de l'Audiovisuel à Bruxelles)

Associate producers : Hugues Le Paige (RTBF Bruxelles), Kathleen de Béthune (CBA)

Executive producer RTBF : Roch Bosquée

Production assistants : Audrey Fraeys, Christine Thonnet, André Collinet

In collaboration with : Willy Perelsztejn

Supported by : Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique, la bourse "Brouillon d'un rêve" de la S.C.A.M., KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Special thanks to : Monsieur Marcel Johakimowicz, the whole team of the rest home Heureux Séjour, Carine Bratzlavsky, Claire Colart, Frédéric Fichefet, Ronnie Ramirez

Presentation : Filmmuseum/Musée du Cinéma, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Back to top

Marta Bergman:

“I never know what to say to my grandmother when she talks to me about her own death. I pretend not to hear; I change the subject to distract her but above all to escape it. I feel incapable of confronting this subject, in the same way that I find it harder and harder to visit her since she’s gone downhill. She has lost a lot of her mental agility. She doesn’t go out any more, doesn’t read anymore, doesn’t watch the TV any more. This withdrawal into herself, accompanied by an increasing allegiance to her ‘retirement home’ makes me feel almost hostile towards her. As if I’m angry at her for becoming so old, so fragile, forgetful of our complicity. The fact that she’s leaving me and I can do nothing to hold onto her makes me run away like a coward. The place where she lives is as funereal as it is fascinating because of the characters I met there, because I chose to film people other than my grandmother. To choose them I let myself be carried away by them.”

“Behind the film’s apparatus, i.e. hidden behind the camera, I had the courage to look at these so very old people. And in the end, maybe the experience I had will be more important than the film. Because before filming I never really dared look at them, I was too frightened to. Even if I haven’t been back any more often, because once the device was taken away I became cowardly again. Shooting the film was both very difficult and very interesting. I let myself be carried away by people’s memory by choosing to retain the memories that for them were the most important and not necessarily the ones we expect. They are very old people who have lived through war, exile, deportation and resistance. There are some who at the end of the lives have completely bizarre obsessions. Apparently these preoccupy them more than the turbulent and difficult lives they have led. That’s what intrigued me. What obsessions are these? A memory of a holiday, a journey, poverty, trivial events…”

“I haven’t tried to piece together the stories of their lives, I didn’t want to set the film in the past but rather mix the past with the present and the future, which inevitably holds death. Independently of what these people tell us, what interests me is extreme old age. In my film, I deliberately accentuated their isolation and their obsessions.”

Back to top