Italy, Switzerland | 108 MINUTES | English |
KILL GIL (VOLUME 1)
One might think that a film like Kill Gil (Volume 1), which documents director Gil Rossellini's battle with a rare and devastating bacterial infection, would leave the typical viewer feeling morose and depressed. But just the opposite is true. Shot in a charmingly low-tech, off-the-cuff manner, the film is actually a record of hope, perseverance, and gentle humor. Rossellini, the adopted son of famed Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, falls into a mysterious three-week coma soon after the 2004 Venice Film Festival and is hospitalized in Sweden, where he undergoes a battery of operations to temper the deadly staphylococcus bacteria that is ravaging his body. Staring death in the face, he begins a video diary with the help of family (including sister Isabella), friends, and hospital staff. Bolstered by their support he starts his journey towards an uncertain recovery. The film spares no intimacy, and we are privy to every sore, abscess, and skin graft on Rossellini's weakened body. But his self-effacing charm softens the impact of the film's graphic details. Little by little, he gets well enough for a transfer to a Swiss rehabilitation clinic, where he learns that it is unlikely that he will regain the use of his legs. But he doesn't let the prognosis get the better of him. He immerses himself in his therapeutic regimen, and ultimately emerges from the hospital in a wheelchair and full of life, after seven months of treatment.