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"La Maladie de Sachs" recounts the daily life of a country doctor confronted with the suffering, anxiety and violence of human relationships, with everything that makes people ill. His sensitivity to such suffering (what might be called his compassion), along with his rejection of the arrogance of medical knowledge, and with the feeling of his own inadequacy all make Dr. Sachs secretly ill himself. He has "Sachs' malady." Dr. Sachs exists primarily in the eyes of others. His patients provide a portrait of him through a series of light strokes and small touches. The doctor asserts nothing himself, he just listens. The tale is woven through this multiplicity of voices, these reflections. His medical office becomes the focus of a mosaic of fragments of life. Dr. Sachs writes, because writing is therapeutic – or at least an anaesthetic. Then Dr. Sachs meets Pauline, and he learns he need no longer fear pain, because it is inevitable, nor happiness, because it has become possible.
"Michel Deville's film is a delight in more ways than one. First of all for people who have read the novel. Rosalinde and Michel Deville were able to bring its essence to the screen by concentrating on the parallel relationships between Dr. Sachs and his patients, and between Bruno and Pauline. Among all the spectators I've met, those who had read the book marveled at the film's faithfulness, while the others rushed out to read the book. It is also a delight for anyone who likes French actors. Alongside an amazing Albert Dupontel and a luminous Valérie Dréville everyone impresses by their veracity, especially since some of them only have a few minutes or seconds to make that impression. I have a weak spot for the performances by Martine Sarcey, Dominique Reymond, Bernard Waver, Nathalie Boutefeu and Sandra Chérès, but all the actors in the film are remarkable, and infuse the film with their humanness. And then, it's a delight for me as a writer and spectator. As a long-time consumer of flicks, I've always realized that movies are different from literature, that you can make great films from feeble books, or pay sincere tribute to books you've deeply loved. I'm lucky to have had my book adapted for the screen in an accurate, sensitive way by a film-maker as personal and subtle as Michel Deville. La Maladie de Sachs is a beautiful, profound and moving film, which makes me proud and happy."
Martin Winckler – Author of "La Maladie de Sachs"