Four years ago, on October 2, the writer Anne Bert, 59, died in Belgium. Everyone remembers that she had challenged, in an open letter, the candidates in the previous presidential election on the legalization of euthanasia. In France, the latter is prohibited. The Leonetti law only provides for the possibility for a person at the end of life to request a “Deep and continuous sedation until his death” and not a lethal injection which immediately causes death. It is through this call that the director Antoine Laura discovers his story.
“We have a duty to think about our own death”
Anne Bert, suffering since 2015 from Charcot’s disease – an incurable degenerative neurological pathology that progressively paralyzes the muscles – is condemned to physical degradation and then to death. “The limit I have set for myself is the moment when I will no longer be able to eat on my own or ensure my personal hygiene”, she explains. She decides to end her life in Belgium, where euthanasia has been authorized since 2002. She has accepted that the documentary filmmaker follows her to her family, to Saintes (Charente-Maritime), and to her friends, and has established with him a relationship of trust during the last six months of his life.
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This documentary on this endearing woman, who has chosen to make her death a fight for the right to die with dignity, does not only upset the viewer. It also underlines the courage and determination of Anne Bert. “She has no alternative in my eyes. We try to support him until the end ”, explains his daughter Roxane. With tact and distance, Antoine Laura films the preparations, by the person concerned, of her own death, until her desire to find a room so that her relatives can, after her death, participate together in “A celebration of life, fraternity and freedom”. Unable to use her hands any longer, she writes her book, “The Very Last Summer” (Fayard), using writing software. It will appear two days after his death to defend the freedom to choose the end of his life and to open a debate on the subject. “We have a duty to think about our own death”, she thought.
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Saturday November 27 at 9:00 p.m. on Public Senate. French documentary by Antoine Laura (2018). 52 min. (Available in replay on the Public Senate website).