The pains, unexpected humor and self-reflection expressed by those who experience breast cancer (loved ones as well as patients) are recorded with raw immediacy in S. Casper Wong’s personal docu “The Lulu Sessions.” Though narrated somewhat gratingly by the writer-director, pic is affectingly assembled from a video diary made during a long period when Wong, a medical student under the tutelage of brilliant biologist Dr. Louise Nutter, became a fledgling filmmaker and Nutter’s on-off lover. Asian and LGBT fests will line up for this aud-puller.
Wong smartly refrains from telling her and Nutter’s shared story in strict chronological order: Nutter is introduced as a wisecracking, amusingly foul-mouthed character undergoing cancer treatment. Only later do we learn she is a cancer researcher whose drug discoveries have landed her on the shortlist for a Nobel Prize in biology. After the two bonded as teacher and student, a love affair developed, albeit over long distances and stretches of time, the drama of which comes through in editor/co-writer Laura Minnear’s elliptical cutting. Final portion records the painful emotions of Nutter’s illness, as she’s shockingly shunned by her two sisters but aided by Wong.