Death inevitably awaits each of us at the end of our lives. Nevertheless, the topic is often circled around or avoided altogether, and the right to decide on the terms of your own death is in many countries a legal minefield.
Back in her twenties, Jacqueline Jencquel was inspired by Sartre’s The Roads to Freedom trilogy to agree that by the time she turned 22, she would already be old and better off dead. Then, she got pregnant and decided to continue living, until half a century later she figured she was now ready to leave. Campaigning for the right to die with dignity, Jacqueline rose to fame in France after publicly announcing her intention to end her life in January 2020. However, Jacqueline’s son, the director Tuki Jencquel, noticed that her decision, however well considered and adamantly stated, was by no means simple. Hence, the son started documenting his mother’s thoughts in the shadow of her impending death. He captures frank and intimate discussions on topics that many of us certainly contemplate on, but seldom aloud.
Jackie counsels those who wish to die on their own terms, taking them to Swiss clinic specialising in assisted suicide, but cancels her own appointment at the last minute. On the other hand, she feels the pressure to go through with her publicised plans, but then Jackie’s desire to meet her future grandchildren makes her delay her departure. The existential discussions between mother and son make us think about questions of not only dignified death but also the waning will to live.