“Live, die, be reborn” by Gaël Morel, love and friendship against AIDS

Presenting his film in the prestigious Cannes Première section of the Cannes Film Festival, the French director takes us back to the 1990s with a story that questions love and time.

France Télévisions – Culture Editorial


Reading time: 3 min

Victor Belmondo and Théo Christine in the film "Live, die, be reborn" by Gaël Morel.  (ARP Selection)

Living and loving oneself with AIDS or under the threat of this disease, the subject has been explored in the cinema by a few important films, more or less animated by the desire to recall the massacre that it caused particularly in the years 1980 and 1990.

Gaël Morel, who is making his comeback at the Cannes Film Festival in his director’s jacket (he was first discovered as an actor in Wild Reeds in 1994), makes his contribution with a personal film of great delicacy which speaks above all of love. Live, die, be rebornscreened on Thursday May 23 in the Cannes Première section, asks a question: what if we had not one, but several lives?

Early 1990s, in Paris. Emma (Lou Lampros) and Sammy (Théo Christine) love each other and are preparing to found a home of which little Nathan will be the cornerstone. Sammy also likes men, but Emma doesn’t seem to be offended, it would even be “exciting” for her, she says. And when he meets their photographer neighbor Cyril (Victor Belmondo), the two quickly fall in love. The couple of Emma and Sammy would even cope with this relationship lived almost in broad daylight, if AIDS did not interfere, dynamiting the balance of the trio.

A threesome? Above all, Gaël Morel subtly explores the two relationships that will never form a love triangle. Each experience is unique, the filmmaker who knows how to tell the story of marivaudage (sexual or friendly seduction) as much as this strange household seems to be whispering in our ears, by portraying his characters with a scalpel: fiery and immature Sammy, intelligent and sunny Emma, ​​inspiring Cyril trust.

“Serious, but not wise”, we say from the photographer. HIV positive, the man has integrated the illness into his existence: “It gave me a challenge. I have been a better photographer since my illness”, he already allows himself. The actor Victor Belmondo surpasses himself in generosity and seduction.

This is the first part of the film, short, because it cannot last. She is eminently romantic, tempered by the sober and reassuring notes of Tchaikovsky – the composer who, on the other hand, we know that he bitterly coexisted his homosexual relationships with an apparent married life, at the end of the 19th century.

In a second and much longer part of the film, the subject shifted, putting the relationship to death, but also to healing, at the heart of the questions. How to live with the sword of Damocles of AIDS? With the deadline, with the uncertainty? How to survive the disease? How to consider time? What becomes of a project for the future, what becomes of love, friendship, transmission?

Gaël Morel soberly outlines all these questions at once. Making the film take place over ten years, he finds the trick of bringing to life – at least in terms of words – a fourth character, that of the son, to restart the story. And prepare for the future.

Victor Belmondo, Lou Lampros, little Hélyos Johnson and Théo Christine in

Despite a few conventional passages, undoubtedly helped by the use of music – beautiful, but too strong – by Georges Delerue, this story remains linear, sometimes surprising and always breathtaking.

The movie poster  "Live, die, be reborn" by Gaël Morel.  (ARP)

Gender : Drama
Director: Gaël Morel
Actors: Lou Lampros, Victor Belmondo, Théo Christine
Country : France
Duration :
Exit :
September 25, 2024
Distributer :
ARP Selection
Synopsis : Emma loves Sammy who loves Cyril who loves her too. What could have been a romantic affair at the end of the last century will be dynamited by the arrival of AIDS. While they expected the worst, the destiny of each character will take an unexpected turn.

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