DOK Leipzig 28 October – 3 November 2019
62nd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Our Lucky Hours


Our Lucky Hours


CATALOGUE TEXT
Between 1939 and 1945, 45,000 patients died in French mental institutions. There was only one place where the patients survived the euthanasia: the hospital in the remote village of Saint-Alban. In addition, the doctors, nursing staff and patients there worked with the residents of the village to hide a number of war refugees, resistance fighters and persecuted Jews and thus save them from certain death.

What made Saint-Alban so exceptional? During her research, director Martine Deyres found photos, home movies and sound recordings in the hospital archives. She uses this material to draw the portrait of an institution that was far ahead of its time. The patients were respected, integrated and individually supported. By working in the household or on the fields, they also contributed, especially during the war, to the fact that no one in Saint-Alban had to go hungry. There was a patient newspaper and various arts and crafts classes. Auguste Forestier’s wooden sculptures even became famous as “art brut”, when the painter Jean Dubuffet discovered the works of the Saint-Alban patient after the war. All this coalesces into a rousing plea for a respectful treatment of the mentally ill, which is more important than ever in an age of economic constrictions and strong normative tendencies.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

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Credits
Original Title: Les heures heureuses Country: France, Belgium, Switzerland Year: 2019 Language: French Subtitle: English Runtime: 77 min. Format: DCP Color: Colour and B&W Director: Martine Deyres Producer: Alexandre Cornu Cinematographer: Jean-Christophe Beauvallet, Dino Berguglia, Antoine-Marie Meert Editor: Philippe Boucq, Catherine Catella, Martine Deyeres Music: Olivier Brisson, Nicola Marinoni Sound: Olivier Hespel, Marianne Roussy, Olivier Schwob Script: Martine Deyeres, Anne Paschetta
Contacts


The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2019 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.