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Journey on Oxyplantine

"Journey on Oxyplatine," which recounts French director Jorge Amat's harrowing struggle first with a liver transplant and then cancer, is certainly engrossing. Though not always easy to watch, this filmed diary does have a happy ending with Amat fully recovered. Outside of fests, TV webs with a health focus may find it interesting.

It’s not a fetching title, but “Journey on Oxyplatine,” which recounts French director Jorge Amat’s harrowing struggle first with a liver transplant and then cancer, is certainly engrossing. Filming himself with a small DV camera as he prepares to go into the hospital and then through the various phases of his illness, Amat offers a brutally honest study of a man at the mercy of biological forces. Though not always easy to watch, this filmed diary does have a happy ending with Amat fully recovered, making it an inspiring story as well as a frank one. Outside of fests, TV webs with a health focus may find it interesting.

When hepatitis B forces him to undergo a liver transplant, Amat is philosophically optimistic. Then bone lymphoma is detected and he records the disfiguring changes to his body as he follows the rituals of pills, drips, and chemotherapy. It’s touch and go for a while, but final scenes show him safely back at home, “reconstructing my body like it was Beirut.” Film’s style is spare and clean with practically no family or doctors shown, intensifying its focus on the main subject.

Journey on Oxyplantine

France

Production: A Utopiart Films production. (International sales: Utopiart, Paris.) Produced, directed, written by Jorge Amat.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Amat; editor, Julie Sandor. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Latin Horizons), Sept. 25, 2003. Running time: 65 MIN.

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