Hin und Weg
- English subtitles
What do you do when, as a successful thirty-something, you receive the news that you have a hereditary, highly malignant disease, which will kill you shortly after a fast deterioration? Then you take charge of your own destiny and face it head on, on a bike and surrounded by your loved ones.
Thirty-something Hannes has decided to end his life – he has first-hand experience of the devastating effect the aggressive muscular disease he suffers from had on his father. Therefore he decides where the annual bicycle ride with his close friends is heading this year: the destination (the final destination for Hannes) will be Ostend, the place where he has arranged to undergo euthanasia.
As only his girlfriend knows about Hannes’ underlying reasons, the journey starts out pleasant enough. There’s cycling, laughing, eating, drinking, and everyone thinks up a ‘try before you die’ experience for someone else. A gang bang, parachute jump, scoring weed. The things you no longer get round to once you’re stuck in the treadmill of ordinary life.
The challenges take on an extra dimension when Hannes and his girlfriend Kiki reveal why the journey ends in Ostend. At first the shock threatens to harm relationships, but in the end personal discomfort gets set aside for Hannes’ last mission, and the prospect of the inevitably approaching death gives extra depth and shine to everything that happens before then.
The journey through an often stunning décor and the absurdness of the challenges provide some necessary lightness to this potentially heavy drama. The focus remains on the questions that everyone asks when confronted with the finitude of life: what is actually important? And what do you want out of life? At the same time it becomes clear how easily the important themes can get snowed under by trivial everyday worries. And that’s okay as well.
All in all it’s a cathartic journey, best undertaken in good company. And with a big box of tissues within reach.
Translation: Marjan Westbroek