'Looks Good': New Series Features Four Main Characters With Cystic Fibrosis
MISE À DAY
Reviving fiction for the general public since the end of “M'entendre-tu”, Télé-Québec is now offering “L'air d'aller”, a daring new “dramedy” putting the front four “adultescents” suffering from cystic fibrosis.
With more lightness than the series “Les bracelets rouges”, this first fiction of the poet and novelist Jean-Christohpe Réhel, who published in 2018 “What we breathe on Tatouine”, allows drama and black humor to rub shoulders in a completely natural and refreshing way.
Living with cystic fibrosis himself, the screenwriter had the idea for this series by observing, in a waiting room, two young people with lung disease “messing around and having fun”. While it is not recommended by doctors to share germs in this way, the story he wrote – whose texts are full of references to millennial pop culture, such as Harry Potter, “The Lord of the Rings and “The Wizard of Oz” – is first and foremost one of friendship, where death is tackled frontally.
With her little rebellious side, Katrine (Catherine St-Laurent), for whom the days are numbered if she doesn't get her transplant within the next five months, has a contagious urgency to live that she transmits very well to her group of friends, who follow her in pretty much all her madness.
Gabriel (Antoine Olivier Pilon), whose symptoms of the disease are inconspicuous, is as sensitive as he is impulsive, unlike Jimmy (Joakim Robillard), fearful by nature, hypochondriac and clumsy. It is usually the latter who brings his friends to order, although he is far from being the employee of the month at the creamery where he works. Her symptoms are quite present.
For her part, Cindy (Noémie Leduc-Vaudry), the devoted and most ambitious of the group, tends to put others before her. Having dropped out of college to care for her cancer-stricken father (Vincent Graton), her love life is a shambles.
The quartet have seen their career ambitions and life experiences hampered by the illness that afflicts them. Almost all still living with their parents, young adults approach life with a certain lightness despite the heaviness that weighs on them every day.
Transposing his poetry to the screen
Each episode of “L'air d'aller” contains a small danced aside, a poetic touch that Jean-Christohpe Réhel wanted to transpose on the screen into gestures rather than words.
These brief segments “allow the characters of the series to express their pain and frustrations while taking possession of their bodies”, a thing not so easy to do when one has cystic fibrosis, specified the author, who usually exercises poetry as an outlet.
“The moments of dance allow me to convey certain answers more intelligent than a frustration expressed by words”, he underlined during a round table at which the QMI Agency participated.
“It's not a dance per se, it's like movements that evoke their interiority. Even in the framing, I didn't go into the classic framing of dance scenes, ”added director Sarah Pellerin, focusing on tight, close and multiplied shots.
Moreover, after watching the first three episodes, if the first dance scene is surprising, the eye quickly gets used to those that will come.
“L’air d’aller”, which is also Urbania's first fiction series, can count on a high quality cast including Denis Bernard, Sylvie Moreau, Iannicko N'Doua, Anick Lemay, Marc Béland, Antoine Pilon and Martin Drainville.
The second season is currently in production.
Starting next week, all episodes will be available online and on the Télé-Québec app. In the meantime, the series will be broadcast simultaneously on TV and on the Web, Thursdays at 9 p.m., starting March 23.
Jean-Christohpe Réhel will publish his second novel, “La joke du siècle” , in the fall.