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Faced with the silence of suicide

Dernière mise à jour : 14 mai 2020

The documentary 1999 - Wish You Were Here attempts to repair the living worked by the voluntary dead.

The breath of oblivion


A teacher worked by remorse

How can one make a film on several suicides that affected a Canadian school eighteen years ago, without questioning the explanatory investigation, the media coverage and censorship imposed by the administrative authorities at the time, the psychological analysis, the portrait of the disappeared, the anamnesis with a resilient virtue, the testimony of haunted and broken parents for life or the preventive observation of the "never again"?

This is the tour de force that Samara Chadwick accomplishes, all in finesse and subtlety, soft and relevant intuition. The thirty-year-old returned to her teenage years over three winters to welcome the words, silences and absences of her former classmates from Mathieu-Martin, who weave her documentary in a state of grace, 1999 - Wish You Were Here.

Choral film

This opus is a bit the antithesis of the fictional series Thirteen Reasons Why delivering through the menu the circumstances and aggressions, abuses and breaches. Or the whole causal chain leading to the suicide of an American teenager in a high school. The vigilante girl leaves behind post-mortem some kind of "revenge tapes" according to Samara Chadwick. In other words, a series of thirteen audio cassettes that each protagonist linked to his disappearance must listen to. And which involves him, directly or medianly implicating him in the lethal act of the young girl.

For this choral and community film, it was clear from the beginning that, in the director's eyes, the enigma about how and why these voluntary deaths would remain intact. Often, the documentary is considered as an investigation leading to a context, traces, a structured and detailed storytelling. However, for the filmmaker and the people who participated in the film, it was unfair to try to impose conclusions and stories on the silences surrounding these suicides.


Bertrand Tappolet


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#SarahChadwick #suicide #1999wishyouwerehere



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