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.