Opening September 8, 2016
Directed by: Thomas Lilti
Writing credits: Thomas Lilti, Baya Kasmi
Principal actors: François Cluzet, Marianne Denicourt, Isabelle Sadoyan, Félix Moati, Patrick Descamps
Not only Dr. Jean-Pierre Werner thinks he is irreplaceable, so does the entire community of the small French village. He has been their doctor for 30 years and knows all their problems. But Dr. Werner (François Cluzet, well known for his role in Ziemlich beste Freunde) is worried; he is an ill man himself. There is nobody to continue with his work. One evening an attractive middle-aged woman visits the praxis. She does not need his help but looks for a job. His friend and colleague sent her. Before studying medicine Dr. Nathalie Delezia (Denicourt) had worked as a nurse but now is looking for a change. One should think Dr. Werner is pleased. “No, this is not for you, forget it”, is his harsh answer. He mistrusts anyone coming from the city. During a house visit he tests this woman-doctor by sending her through a flock of angry geese and then smiling broadly at her frightened reaction. Never mind, she learns fast and just ignores his bullying. Soon she even handles some situations better than he does; the village folk get used to her and the children love her. What a surprise when she is suddenly fired on the spot. This does not take long as Dr. Werner calls her back for an emergency which he cannot handle on his own. Her competence wins him over and fully convinces him of her commitment. He might be replaceable after all.
Thomas Lilti, the French director, studied medicine before being drawn to film making. This probably explains his in-depth look at the self-sacrificing country doctor who makes any effort – even illegally – to help his old patient to die at home with his dog by his side. He is not against new medical ways but sees the short-comings. This film is a very realistic view of life in the country with its social problems and its close-knit society. There is empathy without sentimentality. (Birgit S.)