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Sach’s Disease

La Maladie de Sachs

The title of Michel Deville’s excellent film refers to the ‘malady’ of loneliness and confusion suffered by an idealistic doctor in a small, seemingly tranquil village whose appearance belies the intense suffering of many of its inhabitants. Like any poor county doctor, Sachs (Albert Dupontel) is overworked and underpaid. For Sachs, medicine is an almost spiritual vocation to which he devotes his entire life. His generosity of spirit attracts many patients, who treat him alternately as a confessor, psychiatrist and friend. Sachs is always struggling to be a better doctor, but the loneliness and sorrow of his patients threatens to overwhelm him. One day, almost despite himself, he is attracted to Pauline (Valerie Dreville), a woman he meets at a local clinic. The two share an immediate bond, and Sachs sees that there may yet be a way for him to move beyond despair. Dupontel brings a quiet intensity to the central role, and the real achievement of Deville’s film is the seamless way it manages to capture both the inner and outer worlds of its subject.

France, 1999.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby stereo SR.
97 min.

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