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On the Adamant Sur l’Adamant

Nicolas Philibert / France, Japan / 2022 / 109 min / French

French documentary film maker Nicolas Philbert takes us on an unusual ship, used as a day-care centre for adults with mental disabilities. Surrounded by incredibly talented people with sparkling personalities, we can contemplate community, freedom and the importance of art in everyday life. The warm and subtle film that breaks downs the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’ won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale.

festivals, awards Berlinale 2023 (Golden Bear)

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The Adamant is a unique day-care centre. A floating structure located on the Seine in the heart of Paris, it welcomes adults suffering from mental disorders, offering the kind of care that grounds them in time and space and helps them to recover or keep up their spirits. The team running it tries to resist the deterioration and dehumanisation of psychiatry as best as they can.

“I didn’t want to make a film about psychiatry which would lead viewers into an inevitably and eternally sombre world. When you spend time with patients in a place like The Adamant, you find people who seem to be suffering and others who don’t, who have found a kind of balance in their lives, who live with their illness, who have managed to control it and accept it. This balance might sometimes seem a bit wild, or unique to say the least, but there are some really educated, incredibly lucid people there, who are often funny too, even when the situation doesn’t call for it.” (Nicolas Philibert)

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