The film is testimony to the love and loyalty between two sisters: Sabine and Sandrine Bonnaire. Sandrine is a famous and truly gifted French actress and Sabine is her younger sister, an extraordinary woman in her own right who lives with autism. The film is a 2008 documentary called, “Her Name is Sabine”. It is written, directed and produce by Sandrine.
This brilliantly done piece of work is riveting, wrenching and testimony to the dehumanizing and destructive impact of too many healthcare systems around the world. This loving and unblinking look at how an unprepared and at times uncaring system may well have done more to damage Sabine’s ability to manage life than the autism. Sabine’s experience is anything but the exception to the rule. I have seen the healthcare system in my own country destroy lives and demolish hope. I watched the film online on Netflix online at times could not see the screen through the tears.
I have been blessed with the experience of seeing some truly special relationships between sisters. My ex-wife Paula and her sister Tracey had and have a bond so loving and close no power on earth can sever it. I knew four sisters: Diana, Cindy, Nora and Sylvia that were and are dazzlingly close. Like Paula and Tracy, watching them in a room together was so much fun that going to a movie, Broadway show or concert was boring by comparison. There is no doubt the bond between Sabine and Sandrine is just as deep and just as glorious.
While I will not give much of the film away because I am hoping you will make a point of seeing it, there are moments that make you cry and moments that make you laugh. A wonderful example of the latter was when Sabine is going swimming at an indoor pool. When she is checking in she says to the man at the counter,”Go fuck yourself.” When the woman with her points out this might not exactly be the most effective approach, Sabine looks at the man and says, “Bonjours monsieur. Don’t go fuck yourself.”
Sandrine and Sabine make another powerful point in this film. People with disabilities are people too. They deserve equality because they are equal. Not because we ought to be nice enough to let them think they are. Neither do they deserve to be medicated into oblivion, enslaved in houses and institutions. They deserve their freedom. It ought to be criminal act when giving people their freedom is deemed to be too tall an order.
For two mother’s who know more than most: Patty Black and Paula Gudell