American filmmaker Pola Rapaport became fascinated by the story of Marieke “Wielemie” Vervoort after winning the 400m wheelchair silver medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Not because the athletic performance was so impressive, but because of the press conference Marieke gave afterwards. She openly said that since 2008, she had the papers that gave her the right to euthanasia. But it wouldn’t be a race to the finish, Marieke felt released and always wanted to squeeze everything out of life, until the pain became completely unbearable.
Rapaport, who had just completed the film ‘Nadia Comanenci: The Gymnast and the Director’, decided to follow the life path of this special, inspiring and very strong figure with her partner and DOP Wolfgang Held. For three years they filmed Marieke, during interviews in Belgium, Lanzarote and Portland, via Skype and eventually also on her last days in Diest. The result is a poignant portrait of a woman who took her destiny into her own hands and looked her illness straight in the eye with a smile and a sense of humor.
Belgium is still one of the only countries in the world where euthanasia is legal. In the United States, the home of Rapaport, the conversation on a dignified end of life has also begun, but it is bogged down in the same camps as the abortion debate. The film therefore examines the ethical and moral issues surrounding euthanasia and the reasons why the subject is still so taboo in the world. Marieke herself became one in her later years against her will and grace activist in the heated debate.
This heated debate is deepened in the broadcast of ‘LAAT!’, after the screening of the documentary on Pickx+. The main guest of the interpretation program is a teacher Guillaume Distelmans, the euthanasia expert par excellence in our country. Next to him come then Marieke Vervoort Jan Desaer And Patricia Doms – also a wheelchair patient – skip by for a chat about Marieke and her decision. come later too Jarno Boonewhose mother opted for euthanasia after a battle with cancer, Lynn DePelsmaekerwho has already completed the euthanasia papers himself, and Ingrid Verhelstwho suffers from dementia praecox and was featured in “Restaurant Misverstand”, speaking.
These programs on euthanasia will be available on July 23 on the exclusive channel Pickx+ (channel 13). Discover the entire Pickx+ range!
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