Une vie démente

BFM — 39
BFM — 39
Madly in Life

Available online from 24 to 26 April on MYmovies.it

Directed by Ann Sirot, Raphaël BalboniItalian title: Follemente in vita [t.l.]
Belgium / 2020 / 87 min.
Colour / O.V. / Subtitles: sub. it./en.
Jo Deseure, Jean Le Peltier, Lucie Debay, Gilles Remiche

Alex and Noémie, both in their thirties, want a child. But their plans are upset when Alex’s mother, Suzanne, starts acting rather bizarrely. It is due to her suffering from “semantic dementia,” a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that influences her behavior. She spends money recklessly, visits her neighbors in the middle of the night and her behaviour is more and more strange. Suzanne the mother becomes an uncontrollable child. An unexpected and unusual parenting boot camp for Noémie and Alex.??


Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni (Belgium) are writers and directors of fiction films. The duo came together in 2007 when they shot their first short film together, Last Play, an unconventional thriller. This first film, which is somewhat experimental, set the ground work for the universe the co-directors set out to develop further in their three subsequent short films, where they explore a strange world through an atypical hybrid cinema which is at once dreamlike, delirious and joyful. 
In their short film Lucha Libre (2014), the co-directors began to develop a new way of writing, by building the scenario around the actors, from scenes without prior dialogue and rehearsed improvisational work. The same approach was adopted on the next short film With Thelma, that won awards at numerous festivals and the “Magritte” for the best short film in 2018. Une Vie Démente (Madly in Life) is their first feature length film. In 2020, the duo also directed their 7th short film, Much in Common, as part of “La Belge collection”, which promotes Belgian actors.

«Suzanne’s illness, “semantic dementia”, became an intrinsic part of our life. We had to learn how to cope with it on a personal level. Coming to terms with the knowledge that your parent is going senile when you have barely turned thirty makes you feel as if your life has been suspended.
At thirty you get the sense that you are just starting out as a full-fledged adult; death will come later. Now is the time to dive into the tumult of existence. […] Instead, Alex begins to realize that her illness can lead to a new richer, deeper understanding of life. […]
It follows that this is a coming of age story, a pathway to emancipation. In learning to accept Suzanne for who she is, to cease worrying about how she is viewed by society, Alex changes his own relationship to the external world. He has stopped judging Suzanne’s behavior. He sees his mother as her own person, separate from himself, as someone he can love and appreciate for who she is.»

Essential filmography

Une Vie Démente (Madly in Life, 2020)
Des choses en commun (Much in Common, short, 2020)
Avec Thelma (With Thelma, short, 2018)
Lucha Libre (short, 2014)
Fable domestique (Domestic Tale, short, 2012)
La version du loup (The Wolf’s Version, short, 2011)
Juste la lettre T (Just the Letter T, short, 2009)
Last Play (short, 2007)

BFM 39 list of films

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