Ghent, June 2006
Round your arm.
Look at Mummy.
It'll feel a bit tight.
Keep still, sweetie.
All done. All done.
Don't do that. It's all done now.
Right. The doctor will see you now.
And I'll stay with this little lady. Be good, eh?
Hello, little lady.
What's this? My rucksack.
No, it's a giant ladybird. It's a rucksack!
A giant ladybird!
Hello, doctor. Come in.
Can you watch on your own for a moment? Mummy and Daddy are just popping out.
There's a good girl.
Can we agree on one thing?
We do our crying at home. When we're in here we're positive, OK?
Look at her.
She's fine. Yeah...
We're going to shoot it dead tomorrow.
What are we going to do? Shoot the cancer dead.
Go to sleep now, you silly sausage. That'll do.
7 years previously
Does all that belong to you? Yes.
Wow! Very nice! But it needs a lot of work done to it.
Still... So for now I sleep... there.
In that caravan?
You're a real cowboy after all! I do my best.
Is that horse yours too? Yes, that's Earl.
Is he bad-tempered? No, he's very sweet-natured.
J.D. Crowe and The New South. Then the Tony Rice Unit.
Manzanita is definitely my favourite CD ever.
He used to have a fantastic voice.
But he lost It. It's such a shame.
I don't know how. Following an illness or something. Or a bit too much whisky!
Why do you play the banjo?
I'm too stupid to play the guitar and too dumb to play the mandolin.
No, no. I used to be a punk rocker and a banjo sort of snarls, which reminds me of punk rock.
I love it.
How come you've got so many tattoos?
Seeing as you don't want a tattoo...
Do you like it?
Good afternoon. Shhh, shhh.
Here we are with lunch.
She's just fallen asleep. The hospital has its set times.
Maybelle is ill! Sweetheart...
You could say something too, Didier. Say what? Eh? What?
Sorry, sweetie. Mummy shouldn't shout like that, eh?
Sorry. It's alright.
Now we're going to do our best to sit very still. You'll feel a little prick.
You knew, eh? Who gave it to me? Your mummy.
Before that it belonged to my mummy's mummy.
And before that to my mummy's mummy's mummy.
And now I'm giving it to you.
Because I'm your mummy.
And when you're grown up, you can give it to your little girl.
But until then I want you to hold on tightly to it when you feel sad, or when you're scared or when you feel lonely.
Then close your eyes and think of something nice.
Shall we give it a try?
Dirt-poor fortune-hunters from all over the world were there on the Appalachians, on that slate that was bloody difficult to mine.
The Spaniard had a guitar, the Italian a mandolin, the Jew a violin and the African a banjar, from which the banjo is descended.
To combat the hunger and the misery, they started singing songs about their dreams of a promised land, often about their fear of dying, their hope for a better life in the hereafter and their sorrow, their hard life.
Elise, can you come and help me, sweetheart?
Where are you?
What's the matter?
Are you alright, sweetheart?
Maybe I don't want that.
How did that happen? How come?
I... I've never been regular.
What do you think?
That I knew? That I've tricked you into this?
Maybe I don't want to make decisions about someone else's life.
I didn't know.
D'you expect us to carry on living in that caravan with a baby?
Hello, Maybelle. Hello, doctor.
I love your face.
You can go home tomorrow. Yes!
Great, eh? But you have to come back in a few weeks.
Like I told you, eh? Yes.
Then we can see if Captain Chemo won the fight.
Thank you, doctor.
What are you? A tiger.
And what is Mummy? A butterfly.
What do tigers do?
Can you hear what I can hear? There's someone in our house.
Do you dare go and take a look? Cos I don't. Go and see.
Are you going to go and see?
Well? Can you see anything?
Funny, aren't they?
I'm so pleased you're back. Welcome home.
Do you like it? Yes.
Go on. What?
Hey, darling. Yeah?
How about building a veranda onto the front of the house?
A what? A veranda?
There's nothing more useless than a veranda.
You never sit in it. You bought some steak tartare.
But it'd be great, wouldn't it? A veranda is great.
Oh, come on, sweetheart. In summer you go outside when it's hot and in winter you stay indoors by the stove.
But we live in Belgium, where it's a bit too cold to sit outside and a bit too hot to stay indoors.
You really bought some steak tartare?
That's not steak tartare! It's vegetarian. Nice, isn't it?
Bloody hell! Come on!
I don't like sitting in the wind and neither does our baby.
So it's decided, you need a veranda.
OK, you'll get your veranda but this is the last time you use that argument.
Thanks. What? It's only a veranda.
Well? Do you know what it is yet? A baby, I reckon.
But I can't be sure. With Didier being such a stallion, it could be a foal.
It's coming. My water has broken.
Keep calm. Sit down. No.
Keep calm, keep calm.
Elise has had the baby. It's a girl.
Yes, it's really...
Yes, like Maybelle Carter.
You know nothing about names!
No, no. Hands down.
That's not a veranda, sweetheart. No... No, it's a 'terranda'.
The perfect combination of a terrace and a veranda.
It's lovely. It's wonderful. Thank you.
Go on. Go on. That's it!
Go on. That's it!
Look. Oh, watch out...
It is the worst terrorist attack ever experienced by the United States...
Happy New Year!
Are you going to become a cowgirl too? Yes.
Put that down, Maybelle. Give it to me, sweetie.
Don't cry. Give it to me, sweetie.
Why is the birdie dead, Daddy?
Well, sweetie... the birdie flew into the glass...
Birds don't know what glass is.
They think that if they can see through it, they can fly through it. Not very clever of them, eh?
Where does the birdie go when it's dead?
We... We just have to throw it away now. Eh, Maybelle?
We mustn't put it on the compost heap. It's like a chicken, it's got bones in it.
We'll throw it in the dustbin. Come on.
It's dirty, darling. Give it to me, sweetie.
I'll throw it away for you, OK?
Do you want to throw it away?
Give it to me. Come on.
Come on. Give it to me. Give it to me.
The chemo isn't working.
Her bone marrow is producing abnormal white blood cells again.
Which isn't very good news, of course.
But, as we've already discussed, we're not giving up yet.
We will simply move on to the next stage in the treatment, a stem cell transplant.
First, we will destroy her own bone marrow with more chemo and radiotherapy, then we will replace it with new stem cells from a donor.
A donor who is as close to Maybelle as possible.
Unfortunately, parents can't be considered as donors.
How did it go?
It was a difficult afternoon. How come?
Just after you'd gone she was doing some drawing outside and another bird flew into our terranda.
I came out and she was standing there crying, with a dead bird in her hands.
That wouldn't happen with a veranda. It'd happen even more! Stupid birds!
You'd think that it would eventually be written in their genes.
That it'd become a sort of instinct passed on from mummy bird to chick, that when they see a frame they realize it's dangerous to try to fly through it.
But innumerable generations of birds obviously need to fly into that window before it starts to get through to them.
You should try explaining to a child how come the bird isn't moving anymore.
It's difficult. I know.
You want to say people have come up with all kinds of ways of dealing with it.
That some people believe the bird has a soul that doesn't die and goes up to heaven.
That it'll see it's mummy and daddy again there and will fly around forever in a place where the sun always shines and there aren't any windows.
That other people believe the bird is a martyr in the fight against windows.
And after his death he'll be given lots of female birds that have never mated and he can do what he wants with them.
But Daddy doesn't believe in any of that.
Daddy thinks that... that everything just dies and stays dead.
But you can't say that. No, you can't say that, Didier.
Her natural resistance will be destroyed completely first and she'll be very weak.
Which is why we're putting her in a sterile, pressurized room.
The new blood cells may attack her body.
That doesn't happen with identical stem cells but you only find those in the case of identical twins or cloned embryos.
Unfortunately, science hasn't got that far yet.
Her chances are very good.
She has a very good chance of being completely cured.
Don't lose heart.
That birdie has become a star now.
If you want to believe that that birdie is a star now, then it is.
I'll tell you what, choose one.
That one? That big shiny one up there?
That one? OK.
Bye-bye, birdie. Bye-bye, birdie.
I love you. I love you too.
And that, that's blood.
The stem cells are In there. Stem cells are little soldiers who will march down that tube into your blood.
And those little soldiers mean business.
They are going to cure you.
We're allowed to go home. Are you?
Milan's levels are perfect Great!
Is it a plane? Is it a bird?
No, it's not. Maybelle...
It's Mega Mindu. It's too early. Get some more sleep.
You're far too lively for me. Is it a plane? Is It a bird?
No, it's not. How about getting some more sleep?
No, I'm 6, I was allowed to wake you up early.
Oh yes, of course, it's your birthday.
No, don't tickle me! Don't!
Don't, don't tickle me! Happy birthday!
6 years old! Happy birthday, sweetie. Happy birthday.
You look... You look lovely.
In your pink costume.
How about getting some more sleep? No.
Yes. Come on.
Right, have you almost finished?
Come on, sweetie.
Rinse your mouth.
That's it. Come on, put your shoes on.
Come on, sweetie, get a move on.
Now what? Get the other one. Come on. I'm tired, Mummy.
So am I, sweetie. We're all tired.
But we have to get a move on, eh?
Kiss. The bus is there. Come on.
Coat. You're bleeding round your teeth.
How often have I told you not to scrub so hard with your toothbrush?
Let her go now. Alright.
I'll open the door in a minute. Yeah, yeah.
She's got more bruises on her arms. I know, I saw them.
Shall I light the stove?
No. No, it's OK.
Sweetheart... Can we go and see my mum Sunday?
Yes... I think so.
It's... It's Mother's Day on Sunday.
She'll be pleased to see you.
Fuck! Fuck! You're going to pull through, sweetheart. Goddammit!
Her heart has stopped. Stop the ambulance.
What the fuck is happening now?
Adrenalin, OK? What's happening?
What's happening? We're losing her.
You're not losing her. D'you hear me? You're not!
Don't let her go! D'you hear me?
Don't let her go. Move back and calm down, please.
We're going to shock her. OK, shocking. Watch out.
Everyone stand clear.
Three, two, one.
Let's check. The monitor, please. Thank you.
Take it easy, take it easy. Calm down.
Calm down, OK? We'll just check.
She's back. OK, let's go.
Go go go.
You need to do something, sweetheart. Things can't go on like this.
Things... Things need to change.
You'd like things to be like they used to be, eh?
Yes, of course.
Before we had Maybelle. You never wanted the child, did you?
Elise, that... That's not fair, sweetheart.
I should've listened to you. You didn't want kids.
I did. You being pregnant just took me by surprise, sweetheart.
I'd never given kids a thought.
But once she was there I was the happiest man in the world.
So happy that you started drinking.
You just want to pick a fight. You were drunk when she was born.
And once she was there you had to head for a bar with your pals to celebrate.
You were gone for ten days. You're exaggerating.
You only came home when you developed jaundice from drinking.
That wasn't from drinking... It was from drinking.
And because of that I had to stop breastfeeding.
I could only breastfeed her for two weeks because you had jaundice and it's full of antibodies that are Important for a little mite like that.
You can talk. For the first three months you were pregnant...
Go on, say it. Say it. It's true. It's true.
I smoked and drank during the first three months but I didn't know I was pregnant. It's not your fault, sweetheart.
A baby is formed during the first three months.
The brain is already fully formed after 6 weeks.
Stop it, Elise! Stop it! I didn't know.
People die for the stupidest of reasons. Maybe this place was too dirty for her.
Maybe she ate something she shouldn't have done or we should've changed her sheets more. What are you saying?
Who changed her sheets? I didn't mean anything.
Who fed her? Cooked for her? Fresh food, organic food, every day.
I did. And who cleaned the place? I did!
I just said the first things that came into my head, I could've said anything.
You're blaming me, aren't you?
I'm not. You're blaming me.
You're blaming me. I'm not!
I can have a go at you too. What?
There isn't any cancer in my family, but there is in yours. Two uncles and your dad.
Fuck you, Elise!
Yeah... Fuck you. Fuck you.
Yeah, fuck you. Fuck you!
You were never for it. Never! What did you say?
Fuck you! You bitch! You fucking bitch!
These are the coolest tattoos I've ever seen.
Come in, I'll do you one. No, no.
Come in. It's not my kind of thing. Honestly.
What could possibly be worth putting on your body and never be removed?
Don't you regret any of your tattoos? Of course I do.
But it's not a problem. If you no longer like one, you put another one on top.
The name of my first love, Billy, used to be here And here, Joey. Joey was a nice boy.
And here Tommy. See? Yes, yes.
You can still see him a bit. Tommy, the surfer.
And then, Mathieu. That's fairly recent.
I don't know what's the matter with me today.
We were talking about something else.
We were talking about you. Me?
Oh yes, that there's nothing in your life worth putting on your body.
There are loads of worthwhile things in my life.
But putting them on my body... So tell me, what are they then?
I've been crazy about America all my life.
America? Yes, America.
It's the best place on earth.
No matter where you're from, when you get there you can start all over again.
It's a country of dreamers.
An eagle. Yeah, yeah.
You really do want to give me a tattoo. I need to earn a living.
What d'you mean, Elvis? A tattoo of Elvis.
Elvis is the greatest musician of all time.
Elvis? Elvis Presley?
Yes. For goodness' sake!
That's fantastic. That's one of the best songs ever.
But it isn't by Elvis. It's by Hank Williams.
Hank... The cowboy? The cowboy, yes. Hank Williams.
Elvis is a pansy! The greatest musician in the whole world Is Bill Monroe. Who?
Bill Monroe. Never heard of him.
The father of bluegrass music.
Bluegrass. Something to do with country music?
It's country music at its most pure.
A violin, an upright bass, a mandolin, a guitar and a banjo.
Just strings, purely acoustic.
And voices. It's absolutely sublime.
A very good bluegrass band is performing near here Friday evening.
I will definitely be there.
My name's Didier, by the way. Elise.
Things have to change.
Just a moment. No, no.
Let me through. Sir.
I need to stay with my wife.
Come on, sir.
What are you doing?
What's that? It's...
It's a sticker of a hawk. A hawk sticker from the DIY store.
It's supposed to frighten the birds away so that they no longer fly into the glass in your terranda.
You do realize that doesn't solve anything for the birds in the long term?
You're serious, aren't you? Of course I am.
How are the birds ever going to learn what glass is?
Now they're scared of the hawk but that's cheating, it's an illusion.
Why do you always have to... It isn't a hawk, it's a sticker.
There's glass here. This is a solution, OK?
There's a solution for every problem.
Hey, guys. Look who it is. Hi.
You look lovely in your underpants. He does, eh?
Who was the beer for? There was one for me.
Did you have a ticket? Yes.
Me too, I ordered one. No way.
You only had three tickets. Last week I...
Last week what? I bought everyone loads of drinks...
For months we were surrounded by stem cells and we had the feeling that medical science wasn't going far enough.
That the brakes had been applied.
It's a feeling you can't explain and your child dies...
And then you hear that bastards like that have been slowing everything down for years.
For religious reasons.
It is allowed here, it's just that they haven't got that far yet.
Because those bastards have been slowing everything down for years.
But what gives them the right to do that? Eh?
They call themselves pro-life.
Technology for killing people knows no bounds, but technology for curing people is a different story.
Because embryos are grown outside of marriage.
Embryos the size of a pinhead.
The hypocritical bastard!
Pro-life? My arse, arsehole!
Bunch of extremist fundamentalists! Stick your cross up your arse!
Next to your brain. Goddammit!
Don't. Bloody hell, Elise.
The whole world is obsessed with religion.
The whole world has gone crazy! And so have you.
D'you think I don't know? That I'm stupid? Do you?
D'you think I don't know why that sticker is there?
Because you believe Maybelle may come back to see you and fly into that glass?
Is that it?
Stop a moment. Stop a moment.
Stop a moment. Stop. Just a moment.
I want to ask you something.
If Johnny's allowed to do it, so am I.
Elise, will you marry me? No.
Help me, ladies and gentlemen. Elise! No!
Pass me a pin.
Just stick it in. That's what I'm doing.
I'll just be a moment.
How's things? OK.
Are you sleeping here now?
Yes, for now. I've got a mattress upstairs.
It's only temporary, eh, sweetheart?
What would I do without you, Elise?
It's not Elise anymore.
I've changed my name.
I'm called Alabama now.
Yes. I've changed my name, like the Indians do when they feel like it.
When they feel they've taken another step in their life.
Come on, Elise, don't be so silly.
Just call me Alabama. OK?
Will I see you Saturday?
Are we still performing together? Or is that over too?
Well? Will you be there?
Why does she always call me?
You were too nice to her.
Hello, Elise. Hello.
Everything OK? Sure.
So he's still allowed to say Elise? Or haven't you told them yet?
No. No? She's not called Elise anymore.
She's officially changed her name. She's now called Alabama.
Really? Is that true?
On your passport and everything? Yes.
So we have to call you Alabama now? Seriously?
Hello, Alabama. Alabama.
Hey, Alabama... May I ask you something?
Who am I?
If you're Alabama, who am I?
Oh, Bill Monroe. No, Marilyn Monroe.
I want a cool bluegrass name too.
Go on, give him a name... I know, Linda.
Simple. You're Linda. Come on, guys.
What? You're never happy, are you?
Do you know...
Do you know who I feel sorry for?
The scientists who, since Darwin, have spent their time studying biology.
Who have tried to explain this wonderful world, to describe it and study it.
Who've spent their whole life doing it in the most difficult conditions.
And who now hear that there are still spastics who question the theory of evolution.
Because it was Yahweh.
Yahweh created everything and he did it in six days.
And not in 4.5 billion years.
It's enough to make you puke. Bunch of imbeciles!
But let me tell you something. Yahweh, the God from the Old Testament, the God that 80% of the world kneels before, is by far the most evil person in literature.
Check out your Bible. Read it carefully.
Yahweh is a manipulator, a sadist, a killer, a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe, who is narrow-minded and vain, who carries out ethnic cleansing, who demands child sacrifices and plays sadistic games to test people's faith.
A dictator who apparently created heaven and earth and mankind on purpose so we'd fall humbly to our knees before Him and deferentially sing His praise.
Well, I wasn't created in that image.
I'm not taking orders from a God like that.
I'm better than that.
I'm a monkey.
And I'm scared.
I know I have to be nice to my fellow man or I'll get a punch in the kisser.
I don't need a God for that.
We created gods because we were scared.
Out of fear, out of ignorance.
If someone were to say today that lightning is God expressing his anger, what would you say? You'd laugh in their face.
One more God to go. One more God to go.
One more God to go.
My daughter, Maybelle... My little daughter died because certain experiments are regarded as unethical by the religious community.
But that's a mere detail.
Millions of people die every year cos the scumbag they call the Pope says you can't use a condom when having sex.
It's only a mere detail, historically speaking, but not to me. Not to me.
If I want to believe that Maybelle is a star up in the sky, I will.
If I want to believe she's a bird that perches on our window sill, or a butterfly that sits on my shoulder or a bloody frog that... Maybelle is dead, sweetheart.
She's dead, she's gone! She's not here anymore.
But we are still here. I'm still here.
We have to carry on together. I've covered up your name, Didier.
You're a coward. You're nothing but a coward.
Maybelle wouldn't have wanted that. Why did you do it? Why?
In fact, I've always known.
That it was too wonderful to be true.
That it couldn't last. That life isn't like that, life isn't generous.
You mustn't love someone, you mustn't become attached to someone, life begrudges you that.
It takes everything away from you and laughs in your face. It betrays you.
Sweetheart, don't... Don't call me that, Didier.
I'm not your sweetheart anymore!
Are you alright, pal?
What are we going to do? Play.
Daddy, can you tell me about the stars again?
What about them?
About how they've gone out.
You told me before.
Right. A little star like this one is, in fact a?
A sun. A sun. Yes, well done, Maybelle.
It's a sun that is a very, very long way away.
And its light has to travel a long way for a long time to reach your eyes.
So sometimes it's possible that the little star has already gone out before the light reaches your eyes.
So you see something that is no longer there.
But that doesn't matter, because the light from a little star like that carries on travelling, past your eyes.
Further and further.
So that little star will exist forever.
Forever and ever and ever.
Madam. Can you hear me?
OK, intubate, intubate.
Move back, please. OK.
OK. Adrenalin. Adrenalin, please.
No way. Don't let her go.
I'm not letting you go, sweetheart.
Don't let her go.
The circle is broken. You won't see Maybelle again.
Stand back, please.
Three, two, one.
We've done all the tests.
She's got serious brain damage.
We are keeping her alive for now. But she is clinically dead.
The medical team's advice is to let her go.
Can I see her? I want to see her.
Will you say hello to Maybelle for me if you see her?
Translated by Christine Le Piez The Subtitling Company