The Film-Phil Lisbon Seminars: Anna Magdalena Elsner
15:00 às 17:00
Colégio Almada Negreiros

O próximo seminário Film-Phil de Lisboa (2023-2024) estará a cargo de Anna Magdalena Elsner (Universidade de São Galo, Suíça), que falará sobre “Documenting Dying or Capturing Care? The Afterlives of Palliative Care in French End-of-Life Documentaries”. A sessão será em inglês e terá lugar no dia 19 de junho de 2024, às 15h00 (hora de Lisboa), na sala SE1 do Colégio Almada Negreiros e online, via Zoom.

A série de seminários faz parte do projeto ERC “CINEMA E MORTE — A Filosofia do Cinema como uma Meditação sobre a Morte”. O seminário será híbrido. Para receber mais informações sobre como participar na reunião online, é obrigatório registar-se aqui.


At the heart of this talk are three documentaries about end-of-life care in France: Les yeux ouverts (Frédéric Chaudier, 2010), Une maison au bord du monde (Pascal Cesaro, 2018) and Les Equilibristes (Perrine Michel, 2020). My aim is to explore how these documentary films engage with palliative care, the medical subspecialty which since Cicely Saunders’s pioneering work in the 1970s has become medicine’s main modality of dealing with death. Engaging with conceptual questions of the auto-documentary and ethnographies of care and vulnerability, I seek to untangle how the ethics of documentary filmmaking meets and collides with care ethics in the specific contexts of the portrayed institutions and their particular caring practices in the face of death. Highlighting how the films can be viewed as a commentary on societal engagements with dying, as well as oscillating between idealization and criticism of the philosophy of palliative, I explore the idea of an end-of-life documentary as an act of relational co-creation. As such, the practice of filmmaking partakes in Cicely Saunders’s totalizing view of pain and care, but also traces some of its limitations with regard to recent developments in political debates about end-of-life care in France.


Anna Magdalena Elsner is Associate Professor of French Studies and Medical Humanities at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She is PI of the ERC project AssistedLab, which engages with the aesthetics, laws, and ethics of assisted dying. Most recently she has co-edited Literature and Medicine (Cambridge University Press, 2024) and The Proustian Mind (Routledge, 2022).

Funded by the European Union (ERC, FILM AND DEATH, 101088956). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.