LATEST NEWS FROM THE COSMOS / Dernières nouvelles du cosmos


Special Preview Screening • Documentary • France, 2016

DCP • 1.85 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 85 min

Written and Directed by: Julie Bertuccelli

Cinematography: Julie Bertuccelli           

Film Editing: Josiane Zardoya

Produced by: Yaël Fogiel, Laetitia Gonzalez (Les Films du Poisson)

International Sales: Pyramide International

U.S. Distributor: Icarus Films


At the age of 8, Hélène Nicolas was diagnosed with severe autism and placed in an institution. But this 2017 Best Documentary César nominated film is not about disability, but rather the discovery of a special ability. Dissatisfied with Hélène’s progress, her mother Véronique quits her job so that she can devote herself full time to Hélène’s care. Up to this point Hélène had been completely unable to communicate, but Véronique is astonished to discover that Hélène is able to place letters in a sequence, like a scrabble game, in order to make words. Not only that, but Hélène has a gift for language, creating surreal and playful poems with wit and insight. In the decade since Véronique made the discovery, Hélène has fashioned an alter ego for herself called Babouillec and published several books of poetry. These works, adapted to the stage by the prestigious Avignon International Theater Festival, are a window into a mischievous mind reveling in a liberated inner world, yet capable of striking observations about the outer world. While Hélène’s creative process is explored, it’s the glimpses of her relationship with her patient and dedicated mother that touch us most.


As a chronicler of contemporary French society, writer/director Julie Bertuccelli honed her craft in television, where she made documentaries on subjects ranging from the judicial system to the day-to-day workings of the giant Paris department store, Galleries Lafayette. In 2013 she struck a chord with audiences for School of Babel, an uplifting report on a special school for foreign students aimed at integrating them into French society. The film went on to be nominated for a Best Documentary César. Although known as a documentarian, Bertuccelli won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize in Cannes, and the César award for Best First Film for her 2003 feature debut Since Otar Left. Her second feature, The Tree (2010), a drama about family bereavement, earned Charlotte Gainsbourg a César nomination for best actress.