Heal the Living

Katell Quillévéré's third feature is her most accomplished yet

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 16 Feb 2017
  • Heal the Living
Film title: Heal the Living
Director: Katell Quillévéré
Starring: Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Dorval, Kool Shen, Monia Chokri, Finnegan Oldfield
Release date: 28 Apr
Certificate: 12

Heal the Living is the story of one heart that touches many lives. When a teenage surfer (Gabin Verdet) is killed in a car accident, his grieving parents (Emmanuelle Seigner and Kool Shen) have to make the decision to donate his healthy organs to those in need. Writer-director Katell Quillévéré divides her film into two halves: first focusing on the family’s emotional shock and ethical dilemmas before introducing us to the woman (Anne Dorval) who will receive the heart in question.

This is Quillévéré’s third feature, and it is both her most ambitious to date and her most accomplished. She weaves a rich emotional tapestry through multiple characters – family members, doctors, paramedics – and while it’s easy to imagine this material feeling contrived or soapy in the wrong hands, she pulls it off with unerring elegance and lightness of touch.

With the assistance of Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score, Quillévéré also crafts a number of exhilarating cinematic coups, from the entrancing opening sequence to a rousing flashback that displays the strength of the young man’s heart, in both a physical and romantic sense.

Heal the Living screens at Glasgow Film Festival: 19 Feb, CCA, 3.30pm | 21 Feb, CCA, 1.30pm

Read more about Glasgow Film Festival in The CineSkinny – in print at Glasgow Film Festival venues and online at theskinny.co.uk/film/cineskinny

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