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La Mécanique des corps
Body Mechanics
© Alter Ego Production / Nottetempo Films

Dans un centre de rééducation, des femmes et des hommes amputés réapprennent sans relâche à marcher ou à saisir. Une prothèse mécanique se substitue désormais à la partie manquante de leur corps. Ils sont devenus hybrides.

In a functional rehabilitation centre, made-to-measure mechanical limbs help male and female amputees to redefine themselves by gaining control of their new body. In his short prologue, Matthieu Chatellier goes back over what sparked his decision to explore this place: the dream of a bionic human, a composite being whose utopia has nurtured a whole body of sci-fi literature. The prologue focuses on the manufacture of parts and their mechanical precision, but after the opening credits we discover the human and personal stakes. How do you start from scratch (in French, the polysemic term “appareillage” meaning “fitting out” also denotes the advance preparations for a long journey). How do you prepare the way you walk or grasp an object, movements that were automatic when the body was whole? Helped by prosthetists and doctors, the patients are encouraged to reinvent their body, and accept their hybridity with humour (one patient likens herself to Cinderella trying on the slipper) or circumspection (the old sailor at his window, binoculars in hand, gazing deep into the horizon). Also giving a place to the “Geppettos”, who plane and readjust the prostheses to the nearest millimetre, Matthieu Chatellier observes this teamwork with discretion and sensitivity. (Charlotte Garson)