Professor Duhamel takes great but heartless interest in the rare case of a mutated, yet congenital long disease of shy 'good boy' Lucas, father Karl's pride, and his rebellious brother Tom, who decides to enjoy as much as possible his short-cut life with dubious buddy Jimmy. Lucas dies in a promising transplant, Tom finds an apparent soul-mate in older Xavier, on the same donor list. Over a few years, doomed passion with two girls, one of which is in a bubble on account of an uncontrolled infection, messes up their relationships and even Tom's will to live, while Jimmy spares no effort or victim for his buddy's chances. Written by
Adem (Oxygen) takes its audience on emotional roller-coaster
Adem, directed by Hans Van Nuffel, screened this week in international competition at the Montreal World Film Festival (FFM). Tom (played by Stef Aerts) suffers from chronic cystic fibrosis - an hereditary condition he shares with his older brother Lucas (Maarten Mertens). Tom & Lucas spend much of their youth in the Belgian health care system, and the awful certainty that they will need to receive lung transplants and otherwise will not survive as adults. In one of his hospital stays, Tom meets Xavier (Wouter Hendrickx), who has the same illness. Xavier teaches Tom that life can be enjoyed to its fullest notwithstanding their precarious state of health. The two men face many ups & downs in a tumultuous relationship which is the basis of this fascinating film. The women in their lives and as well Tom's friends play prominent roles in an emotional roller coaster of a film. Ultimately, the two men's fates are inextricably linked. Stef Aerts delivers a magnificent acting performance, in which learning to take a breath of air is a challenge. The camera work is sensitive and yet unobtrusive. Hans Van Nuffel, who has a mild form of cystic fibrosis, also wrote the script and knows the subject matter. This gripping film is ultimately not about the illness. Rather it is about the will to survive.
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