Patients, by Grand Corps Malade
Adapted from the eponymous book from Grand Corps Malade, Patients plunges us into the tragic experience of disability. With both tears and joy, the slam-poet and his friend Mehdi Idir present an ode to life.
Slam poet, author and director
Fabien Marsaud grew up in Seine-Saint-Denis, passionate about writing and basketball. Alongside the collective 129H, he shook up the slam scene and won several tournaments under the name Grand Corps Malade (literally, “Big Sick Body”), referring to the accident in an under-filled swimming pool that almost left him paralysed at the age of 20.
In 2006, he described his youth in the suburbs on his first album, Midi 20, which won two Victoires de la Musique awards. Several albums followed (Child of the City (“Enfant de la ville”) in 2008, 3rd Time (“3e Temps”) in 2010, contributing to the recognition of slam as urban poetry.
In 2017, with filmmaker Mehdi Idir, the poet brought the book Patients, which he had written five years earlier, to the screen.
Resisting, loving, hoping
With dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, Ben wakes up in a rehabilitation centre following a dramatic dive into a shallow pool. Partially paralysed, he must come to terms with the end of his sporting career and re-learn to live with his new disability.
During these months of pain, laughter, friendship and romantic adventure, the young man looks to the other patients to find the energy to fight, with one goal: getting better.
The world of a hospital
In 2012, Grand Corps Malade described his experience in rehabilitation in an autobiographical novel. In 2017, he called on screenwriter Fadette Drouard and filmmaker Mehdi Idir, who is also his best friend, to adapt his book for the screen.
The two co-creators endeavoured to recreate the sense of confinement connected with rehabilitation, while reclaiming, without pathos, the codes of understanding and dark humour that prevail among patients. In the interests of realism, they filmed the work at the Courbet centre, in Seine-et-Marne, where the French poet struggled to recover.
In addition to immersing us in the world of the hospital, Patients addresses the theme of cultural diversity by featuring patients from the Paris suburbs.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics, the film has been recognized at numerous international festivals (Audience Prize at the Tübingen International Francophone Film Festival, Premier Prize at the Cabourg Film Festival in 2017). It is in the running for Lumières Awards in two categories. Its impressive success culminated in no less than four nominations at the 2018 César Awards.
With its message of universal hope, the film has been distributed beyond the borders of France, from Europe to Quebec, Africa and Asia.
Patients (2016) is distributed internationally by the Institut français as part of its partnership with the Angers First Films festival. The film won the audience award in 2017.
The Institut français offers a catalogue of over 2,500 films, allowing the French cultural network and its partners to screen French films around the world.