Film Reviews

Review: ‘Life to Come’

Hot Docs 2017

Courtesy of Hot Docs


Life to Come / (La vie à venir)
(Belgium, 75 min.)
Dir. Claudio Capanna
Programme: World Showcase (North American Premiere)

Born severely premature, twins Eden and Léandro struggle to survive in Claudio Capanna’s Life to Come. Staying in hospital with their mother Laurence, the babies are kept alive with machines and constantly monitored while we anxiously hope for them to flourish into good health.

Shot like a science fiction film, Life to Come opens with a sequence of biological construction, showing us the development of organic tissues and fluids. Most babies, and certainly these twins, are born in a hospital, a hazy, sterile environment, which feels alien and futuristic in the way that machinery dominates, taking up more space than the nurses and doctors, and controlling the human body. Capanna’s doc is able to convey the real-life difficulty of survival, offering a vision of health care, which may be foreign to many of us.

In Life to Come we identify ourselves with the twins’ mother, Laurence, who articulates the hopes and fears she has for her babies. Laurence, and the film, take things calmly. Progress is slow and halting, and ideas are softly spoken. Without a turn to melodrama, this documentary nevertheless offers great suspense and emotion, which are rendered all the more urgent through the connection to real life and death. Gorgeously shot and with great emotional depth, Life to Come is a satisfying and intense experience.

Life to Come screens:
-Sunday, May 7 at Cineplex Scotiabank at 4:15 PM

Visit the POV Hot Docs Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival!