Taking a time-out to ask life for guidance? We are used (and forced) to plan, to analyze and anticipate, to set targets and define the road forward. What happens when a family decides for an extended absence for not having to plan and let life unfold?

alphee stars

Alphée is an extraordinary girl with an imagination wide as the sky. She is discovering the world around her and adding her proper imagination to it.

Alphée des étoiles from Hugo Latulippe is a gentle and heartfelt film about a family taking a yearlong time-out to find their way with a girl that lives another pace and doesn’t fit the norms and standards. Alphée has a rare genetic disease slowing down her development.

Alphée is happy. Her caring parents decided for an extended time-out to think and feel what is best for the little girl. The family left Canada for a yearlong absence from daily life where no decisions had to be taken on school enrolment and special needs at school. They wanted to slow down and gain distance, to just be and breath and see. They hoped that after a year in a small village in rural Vaud, Switzerland they would know what is best for Alphée’s future.

I was seeing Alphée des étoiles at the documentary film festival Visions du Réel. After the screening Hugo Latulippe, the father and filmmaker, told his family moved back to Canada and that Alphée is enrolled in the village school. Life takes its course. The family’s time out was a wise decision.

The story made me reflect a lot. It touched me. It made me smile. Life told them what needed to be done.

It’s a film about life. Life is life.

Stopping the ordinary course of events, of what has to be done and is expected is not something easily decided.

In our busy programme and project world we are faced with high pressure for effectiveness and efficiency. All is well planned; targets are set, the road ahead defined. However, we have to be honest that in the end, also here it’s about life. A friend and former colleague of mine supporting development programmes in the Philippines said:

For the people we are working with it’s not about a project. It’s about life.

And sometimes its best to take a time-out (of half a day!) to think and rethink, to listen, see and sense. Isnt it?

PS: Alphée des étoiles received the Audience Award of the City of Nyon for the best film of État d’Esprit section: www.visiondureel.ch