- “Fear” is a movie Sławomir Fabicki, where the main roles were played by Magdalena Šelica and Marta Neradkiewicz. It is a film about the journey of two sisters, one of whom wants to leave this world on her own terms
- – In my review of this film, I wrote that the character Majorzata, played by Magdalena Celica, can offend us, upset us, and frighten us, because she comes to terms with death as most of us probably do not, says Katarzyna Kosiewicz
- The psychologist confirms that the film director paid a great tribute to people who care for their seriously ill and dying loved ones.
- — I think that most fellow patients sometimes feel like coming and going, and feel guilty when they do something for themselves from time to time — explains Kosevich
- You can find more such articles on the Onet homepage
Ewa Raczyńska/Onet: Two sisters set off on a trip to Switzerland. For one of them, the purpose of this journey is death, because the seriously ill woman decided to euthanize, for the other – to dissuade her sister from this idea before they got there. The film “Fear”, which describes this story, can now be seen in cinemas.
Katarzyna Kušević: Contrary to appearances, euthanasia is not the main theme of this film, but brotherly relationships and leaving on one’s own terms. This is rarely talked about. I was really afraid to watch this movie because I was afraid it would be too dramatic and really depressing.
What is it?
You could say it’s a November movie. Autumn is an emotionally difficult moment, and it may seem that “fear” is not an image that should be seen at this time of year, when we have little sun, little strength and can fall into sadness. But above all, this film provokes thought and contemplation, as it shows that you can maintain your character and strength even in the face of a dramatic situation such as the journey to death. However, this journey does not appear like the Way of the Cross, but rather a praise for a life in harmony with oneself.
It’s really a movie about leaving on your own terms, about standing alone. About coming to terms with death. In my review of this film, I wrote that Małgorzata, the character played by Magdalena Cielecka, can offend, disturb and terrify us because she is as reconciled to death as most of us are likely to be.
Małgorzata is calm and approaches this journey without emotions, there is no fear, panic or disagreement. He accepts that his illness cannot be cured and decides to leave on his own terms.
It is difficult for us to recognize it.
Yes, I think the main character can bring up a lot of ambivalence. On the one hand, she is a strong woman who made such a difficult decision and stuck to it without batting an eye. On the other hand, we also see that he does not take others into account in this decision. Although he loves his sister, he does not have the space to take care of her. I think this happens in many homes where illness comes.
The patient necessarily becomes the center, and the person who takes care of him must be the strong one, the rock, even if he is not ready for it, even if he himself is fragile and weak.
When illness comes to the family, you have to grow up quickly and pick yourself up, even if you are depressed, even if you are a child. Accompanying people in treatment and illness is a painful, often very difficult experience that requires strength and fortitude. This experience usually comes to us unexpectedly.
Will patients recognize the heroine who gives up the struggle for life? Some, but most patients have hope almost until the end, which makes sense, because medicine is moving forward so quickly.
But we also know that patients have a big problem when they say they are “fighting.”
The word “fight” or the message “You have to think positive” are imposing attitudes that make patients feel ill. Because we don’t have to do anything. Everyone has the right to deal with illness in their own way, with their own feelings. He has the right to get sick as he feels. Although of course research shows that “positive thinking”, or more precisely, hope and belief in the effectiveness of treatment, really supports treatment.
Fighting, on the other hand, is when we have worthy opponents, it requires strength and determination. Cancer can be a much stronger enemy than we are, and we may have neither the desire to fight at all, nor the resources to do so.
Moreover, the word “fight” has an aggressive connotation, and often, even in the mainstream, there is a narrative about “arranging one’s life” with cancer, understanding it, searching for meaning in it, searching for a metaphysical way. To understand that.
Second sister Łucja, is she closer to us?
I love Marta Neradkiewicz, who plays Łucja. She is a great actress. We actually look at the whole situation through her eyes. On the one hand, during the trip, she wants to discourage her sister from making the decision. She wants to encourage her to start treatment, but she is not aggressive. She tries to be tactful and respect the decision, but it is clear that she is heartbroken.
He goes with her to Switzerland to symbolically say goodbye and experience shared brotherly moments one last time. Let these moments be fulfilling, cool and unhurried.
Łucja is not an opportunist, she tries to keep her guard up, which sometimes fails because she can no longer afford to control her emotions. This is a character that shows the trauma of accompanying a loved one in death.
For you, is this a film about accompanying someone through death and caring for someone with a terminal illness?
Yes, about a companion who is constantly focused on the patient, on his needs and feelings.
As companions in illness we are secondary, our needs are secondary, our feelings are not particularly important, because the most important thing in the home is the person with illness, his comfort, safety and physical integrity, which is often changeable and full of suffering.
Often times, families are completely ignored in the treatment process, no one asks what our problem is, what we feel, or what we need. There is a social expectation that a healthy person should deal with and confront a challenge. If he can’t handle stress, he’s a degenerate.
In “Fear”, Magosia shows her sister the dress she chose for her funeral. The scenes in which Łucja gives up, when she is fed up with this cold planning, are very real and I receive them with gratitude because they break the stereotype that support is easy.
Sometimes support is harder than illness. Because the support person is helpless, they can often only watch, and when they love, they want to take away their loved one’s pain, they want to do something so that their loved one does not suffer. And there’s nothing you can do but watch. It’s a mental tear, it’s a big wound. Especially when we cannot share this situation with someone, when we do not take care of our sick loved ones all the time.
I think the director paid tribute to caregivers of seriously ill people, because the sisters’ feelings are very real. I think most fellow patients sometimes feel like coming and going and feel guilty when they do something for themselves every now and then.
In the film, Łucja also struggles for this independence. There’s even a scene when she says to her sister, “What, you planned everything for me? And I don’t want it to be like this!” It’s a beautiful scene that shows that sometimes in life you can just say: I’ve had enough. I love you, but I have my limits.
Caregivers of sick people are often forgotten, because they often become ill when the person they care for recovers or dies.
The situation is different, as the illness of a companion after the death of a patient may be the result of a long suppression of stress, which has a significant impact on our health once the emotions subside. This is why it is so important for caregivers to take care of their mental health as much as possible, not be ashamed to ask for help, and give up on perfection.
This is also evident in the film “Fear” – Łucja has her own life, she has a family, and she calls her her daughter. We see an incredible gap between the family happiness of her children, her ordinary world and her husband, and the drama she experiences with her sister. Even though she is alone there, she probably harbors the idea that she has a second life somewhere, a second world.
However, Małgosia and Łucja are not an ideal sibling relationship.
Yes, it’s a difficult relationship. Łucja accuses her sister of being controlling and that everything should always be the way she wants. During this journey, the women also reconcile with each other, there are a lot of conflicts, but in the end there is a lot of tenderness, closeness and self-respect.
In your opinion, people should have the right to choose and decide – those who are terminally ill – when they want to leave?
Medicine is developing so dynamically that you never know what will happen tomorrow. That’s my problem when I think about the right to euthanasia, that medicine is so advanced that it’s worth keeping hope for as long as possible.
However, there are cases when pain takes away a person’s dignity, when no treatment works, when a person becomes numb and suffers greatly. I believe that these are the moments when the patient should have the right to make decisions. Man deserves dignity in suffering, dignity in death and dying.
Personally, I will never clearly state whether I am for or against euthanasia, because it is just theorizing, and every case is different. However, it is definitely worth talking about and getting used to the topic of death. And support their loved ones. If we have a friend of ours taking care of someone who is sick, let’s reach out to them and let them know they can count on us.
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