VIFF 2011 Reviews: Soloist; How to Die in Oregon


Soloist — Roseanne Philippens, age 23 years old. Netherlands, 55 min.

The camera follows star violinist Philippens as she performs ten concerts with the Dutch National Youth Orchestra. From the moment we meet boyfriend Emiliano, the orchestra’s principle flutist, we suspect the relationship — and possibly her career — is going to sing Daisy. This captivating film is on a double bill with Tchaikovsky on the Road, which is dull.

How to Die in Oregon. USA, 107 min.

You get what you expect here — close ups of a half dozen terminally ill Oregon residents who have chosen to down a drink that renders them comatose and then kills them. Oregon and Washington are the only U.S. states that permit “physician-assisted suicide”, though, apart from supplying a prescription, no physician needs to participate in the suicides. While the film presents a strong rationale for supporting euthanasia, it fails to present an analysis of the opposition to it (which I suspect is based in nothing more than religion).

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About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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