Now in his forties, Damien Samedi has been struggling with addiction throughout his adult life. The mild-mannered Belgian has been trying to make a normal life for himself for years by working hard and kicking the habit. But he always disappoints his loved ones, and in the first place, his mother.
Paloma Sermon-Daï has made an observational, personal portrait of her brother and mother on the eve of his latest attempt to stop using drugs. The first matters to deal with are practical ones, such as applying for a job and sticking to agreements, but eventually mother and son can’t avoid difficult issues such as family ties, shame, and disappointment.
In long, static shots, the camera comes closer and closer to Damien, during intimate scenes with his mother, in candid therapy sessions, and by the river, where he seems to be fighting an inner battle in silence. This glimpse into his life lacks any sense of voyeurism or sentimentality, and shows how addiction also affects loved ones. Well-chosen home videos and audio recordings of mother and son reveal ingrained patterns that may have been passed down in the family for generations.