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Participants

MICHEL FAUBERT

Storyteller

Invested with the desire to transmit at all costs traditional stories and personal creations, he is recognized as one of the major storytellers of our time... He has been driven by a childhood passion. A member of the A cappella group Les Charbonniers de l’enfer, he successfully leads a double career. In 1993, he was invited to the Art of Storytelling Festival in Isere, Grenoble. Following this event, he’s been invited numerous times in France, Belgium and Switzerland. This is the beginning of a European career. He was awarded the gold medal at the Francophone Games in Madagascar in 1998 and, in 2000, the Felix for scripter of the year by ADISQ for his show “L’Âme qui sortait par la bouche du dormeur” (The soul that came out of the sleeper’s mouth).

After several discussions with Faubert, it quickly became clear to Violette Daneau that the film needed a defender of death, a spokesman for the dark figure we constantly flee from. Amused and troubled, Michel Faubert accomplished this mission by creating the show “Death in all its forms.”

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Dr YVES QUENNEVILLE

Psychiatrist in Oncology for 32 years

In 1979, he co-founded the Palliative Care Unit of the Notre-Dame Hospital. As a firefighter with fire, he approaches death hoping not to get caught. Some of his patients died in his arm. According to him, there are people who are made in such a way that they can accept death while for others it’s impossible. He does not advocate the need to have a beautiful death, a new trend...

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BERNARD CRETTAZ

Sociologist, Anthropologist, a leading authority in Switzerland

Having had an intimate relationship with death since his early childhood, through family rituals, Bernard Crettaz has built his life with and around her. He meets his wife-to-be while showing her the burial barrel in his parent’s basement, a tradition where the bride and groom maintain a cask of wine and cheese, that grow old along with them and which will serve as their funerary meal upon their death. Since 2004, he’s organized and hosted about thirty “Mortal Cafes” in Switzerland, Belgium and France. The Mortal Cafe is an event where individuals talk about death in a relaxed environment. The principle is simple: we get together over drinks and munchies to talk about life, death, mourning, our own death, that of a relative, a child, a parent, spouse, pet, object, or illusion, etc. We also talk about hope, lifestyle and “deathstyle” ... in short, everything related to individual experience.

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GISÈLE LABERGE

Buddhist and Retired Philosophy Professor

Gisele Laberge has always been concerned about death. Very young, lying in bed, she imagined herself dead. The idea that one should die one day revolted her. Having become an end of life nursing attendant in recent years, she’s developed the workshop “A year to live” where participants commit to spending a year living as if it was their last. To practice “death”. To be fully alive. To explore fear and reluctance of life and death. Her philosophical background, her knowledge of Buddhism and her experience with the dying and workshop participants make her an essential reference. Familiar with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which deals with the dissolution of the body and describes the natural death process, Gisele teaches how to identify the physical signs that indicate that death is near.

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FATHER JEAN PATRY

Former Chaplain of the Bordeaux Prison

Now retired, Father Jean worked 38 years at the Bordeaux Prison. His humanity and his great sense of humour were his best allies all these years with the detainees. In a time when the death penalty was still in force, he was a faithful companion to these broken men. For Father Jean, to accompany the dying is, in a more personal way, a way to be close to the mystery... An unfathomable mystery both fascinating and worrisome, at times almost unbearable depending on the periods of life. Although a worried being, he calms others. His homilies, highly sought after and praised, were sometimes inspired by an intense inner turmoil. He wrote of things he would’ve liked to believe. Maintaining his faith was sometimes an act of courage for him...

 

FRANÇOISE MOQUIN [1952 – 2008]

Nurse, End of Life Companion

Having worked several years with people at the end of their life and in major upheaval has led her to develop expertise in accompaniment. Françoise described herself as a “midwife of death.” She taught the dying how to breathe in order facilitate the time of death. “Êtres au passage de la vie” (Beings at the passage of life), a book she co-wrote with Michèle Blanchard, talks about people living with AIDS and their companions. When we were filming, Françoise was battling an aggressive cancer. In the film, we see her shaken, looking for internal references in the silence of the room.

 

MICHEL DORÉ [1941 – 2011]

Sociologist

Atheist since the age of 15, divorced, father of a child, Michel Doré enjoys life with intensity because he believes there’s a void after... No God... No reunion with loved ones. Might as well enjoy it now. Despite this apparent certainty, he continues to question, among others, on how philosophers live and analyze the phenomenon of death. He seems to be a man comfortable with the idea of death. His articulate thoughts on religions shook me, as well as all these scientific theories that, according to him, demonstrate the absence of all life after death, even through energy.

 

FATHER BENOÎT LACROIX

Dominican Father, Historian, Philosopher, End of Life Companion

Father Benoit Lacroix, who celebrated his 96th birthday in September 2011, knows that he is near the end of his life. He’s accompanied many dying and he believes that we approach the hour of death as our parents did. According to him, it is a legacy of generations. He’s a man that has lived many life experiences and who is of great knowledge. He seems to be very strong in his faith, but while having a great openness to other religions and forms of belief.

 

FLEET MAULL

Ex-convict, Buddhist, End of Life Companion

In December 1985, Fleet Maull is incarcerated for drug trafficking. He remained in prison from 1987 to 1999. During his incarceration, he participated in the launch of the first hospice program in a corrections facility. As a volunteer, he was an end of life companion for 11 years at the U.S. Medical Center for Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. This program formed staff and inmates to provide compassionate palliative care to prisoners at the end of their lives.

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HORTA VAN HOYE

Visual Artist, Sculpto

A little woman with a quick eye, Belgian national, she’s a remarkable artist that over the years has attracted the most varied public into her fabulous world... Theatrical creations played internationally, exhibitions and collections in Europe, Australia and Canada. “A student of the great masters, Michelangelo and Bracchetti, Brueghel and Fellini, her genius belongs to sacred areas beyond space and time. She lives in a world of paper, surrounded by creatures that are born and die in her miraculous hands”.

Death is part of her life from an early age. She was exposed to funeral exhibitions at home. While her aunt was preparing a mortuary bed, she held her grandmother on her shoulder. A little later, carried by an unusual friendship, she prepares the death mask of a friend...

Through her art, death will be embodied in a paper character, a matter as ephemeral as life. On a white background, a huge roll of paper slowly unfolds in front of the camera, the umbilical cord. A hand crumples the paper. A face appears... Then suddenly the paper unfolds...

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ELIZABETH KNOX

The Funeral Toilet Ritual

A mother having survived the painful mourning of her little seven year-old girl, she recreates the ritual burial toilet as part of a workshop. She teaches these gestures of love and respect that bind the living and the dead, invested with her own history. It’s a moment impregnated with great beauty. She recommends that we ourselves make the funeral toilet of the deceased, not only for the respect of the body of the beloved, but because it is a great way to each enter in the reality of death and lay the first cornerstones of mourning.

 

ANDRÉ MELLY

The Ritual Burial Barrel

Bon vivant sixty something, Andre Melly is an avid practitioner of burial barrels. It’s a tradition where the bride and groom maintain a cask of wine and cheeses that grow old along with them and will serve as the last meal at their death. According to him, death is a step that needs to be demystified from an early age. He comes regularly with his grandson Célien, who will one day take over his grandfather’s cellar.