Archive of films Death by Death / Je me tue à le dire

Belgium / France
2016, 90 min

Section: Variety Critics' Choice
Year: 2016

Michel is the prototype of the outsider. On top of that he’s an inveterate hypochondriac obsessed with visions of death. And why wouldn’t he be, when he’s pathologically dependent on his self-centered mother, a woman who endured cancer and will speak of nothing else. This markedly stylized work serves up a litany of wild and absurd situations with sophisticated humor.


A hirsute sad sack’s inability to escape a monumentally needy mother – or his own paranoid fixations on mortality – are the stuff of idiosyncratic comedy in this debut narrative feature. Not so far-flung from the fate-controlled, aggressively quirky cinematic universe of fellow Belgian Jaco Van Dormael, Xavier Seron nonetheless gives this black-and-white tale its own distinctive aesthetic and tonal character. Our first glimpses of Michel (Jean-Jacques Rausin) are as a babe suckling at his mother’s ample breast and as a 37-year-old adult trying on a coffin for size – signposts of a character whose present-tense life goes nowhere while he continually obsesses over its origin and demise. An unsuccessful aspiring actor, Michel despairs of his general stasis, dividing his free time between his mom and his equally dependent girlfriend, setting up inventive scenes based around off-kilter character dynamics and other incongruous elements.

Dennis Harvey

About the director

Xavier Seron, Belgian filmmaker, first studied law. A change of interest led him in 2001 to enroll at L’Institut des arts de diffusion (IAD), a leading Belgian film school of the L’Académie Louvain, where he currently teaches. His short graduation picture Rien d’insoluble (2006) screened at the festival in Venice, and his second short effort Le crabe (2007, co-dir. Christophe Hermans) took an award at the Premier Plans IFF in Angers, France. He has contributed to several short documentary and narrative films as screenwriter and director (Mauvais lune, 2011; Dreamcatchers, 2012; L’ours noir, 2015). Death by Death is his writer-director debut in features.


Stray Dogs
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Tel: +33 771 883 964

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Variety Critics' Choice
Director: Xavier Seron
Screenplay: Xavier Seron
Dir. of Photography: Olivier Boonjing
Music: Thomas Barriere
Editor: Julie Naas
Art Director: Erwan Le Floc’h
Producer: Olivier Dubois, Bernard De Dessus Les Moustier, Tobina Joppen, François Cognard
Production: Novak Production
Coproduction: 38 Prods.
Cast: Jean-Jacques Rausin, Myriam Boyer, Serge Riaboukine, Fanny Touron, Franc Bruneau
Sales: Stray Dogs


Xavier Seron

Film Director

Nathan Fischer

Sales Agent

Julie Naas

Film Editor


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