New doco looks at living and dying well

Lance and Cécile met at a choir group in Croyden 15 years ago, and since their love blossomed Lance has been the strength for his wife Cécile, who is blind.

But when Lance noticed weakness in his arms while trimming hedges three years ago and was subsequently diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND) he and Cécile knew they would face many challenges.

Their story is one of many captured in the new documentary, Live the Life You Please, and one of three that features Geelong residents.

“Ever since I was diagnosed, which was in March 2020, almost immediately, save for a few tears in between, Cécile and I wanted to be as positive as possible in the situation that we were placed in,” Lance said.

“It wasn’t our choosing, the way life comes true for us. But it doesn’t matter if we’re in a bad situation, we try to make it as light-hearted as possible.

“We always have a laugh, always confer with each other, always try to maximise our efforts in making the situation as easy as possible.”

Highly relevant in a time when most of us will experience palliative care before we die, Live the Life You Please explores the important issues that surround the end of our lives; how we deal with the challenges of dying slowly, bereavement and, most importantly, the importance of communicating what we want the end of our lives to look like.

The film’s director Mike Hill said normalising and stimulating discussions about how we wish to make that final journey was one of the main intentions of Live the Life You Please.

“There’s a recent study that shows that 88 per cent of Australians think that it’s really important to talk about what they want towards the end of their life, but 50 per cent of us never have that conversation,” Mr Hill said.

“It’s really evident that there’s a need to make it easier to have this conversation and that’s why we made the film; to help create a safe way into discussing this topic that we often either put out of mind or find hard to discuss.

“I think the film is really extraordinary, I’m very proud of it. And it’s surprisingly upbeat and joyful and you get that from someone like Lance, who’s living with the serious condition of MND but still really living his best life given these circumstances.”

A special Q&A showing of Life the Life You Please is at Geelong Village Cinemas at 6pm on Tuesday, May 23.