“You’re needed in the intimacy room”
Short film collaborators Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and André Turpin-this is their third work as a duo-focus Prends-moi [Take Me] on a job very few are fit to complete. I’ve volunteered with handicapped people as a bowling scorekeeper and have seen a wide variety of group home workers come and go with differing levels of compassion and care towards those in their ward. For every companion sitting down on the lane to watch, cheer on, and engage there were three roaming around on their phones as though it was break time until the game completed. To most it is a thankless job and you cannot necessarily blame many for not quite cutting it. But to others the act of caring for a less fortunate soul is a gift of grace in itself.
While they and I lent support, facilitated safety, and helped the athletes have fun, Barbeau-Lavalette and Turpin’s sights turn towards a much different and more specific aspect of providing the infirm the opportunity to partake in what we unencumbered take for granted. At the beginning, Sami the aid (Sami Soleymanlou) accepts his job with a clinical detachment devoid of issue. We watch him bring a nameless young man (Alexandre Vallerand) physically unable to walk or truly maneuver his body into a clean bed. He places him gently, removes his underwear, and pushes the mattress towards another off-screen revealed to contain the young man’s wife (Maxime D. Pomerleau) awaiting him with a smile. This is the intimacy room and Sami treats assisting them in their endeavor as he would another patient in need of lunch.
But it isn’t truly the same and this particular instance is uncomfortably unorthodox to complete without questioning his boss. On the surface he’s asked to do something totally unaligned with society’s “normal” thought process towards intimacy due to it being the only way these two lovers can satisfy their carnal desire. We can’t help but sympathize with Sami’s plight and wonder what we’d do in the same situation. While you might say he puts himself into a position for this situation to arise, it’s not like he’d ever think he’d have to go as far as he’s asked in the film. In the end, though, someone willing to provide all things humans need to survive can’t easily ignore physical interaction’s place in the equation.
It’s amazing how powerful a simple “thank you” can be towards making it justifiably pure and immeasurably empathetic.
courtesy of TIFF