‘Fabien’ is a French short film that follows the character of the same name who is a care provider in a residence for dependent people. What exactly does he do? How does he help his patients? Read on to find out.
Fabien, the carer, leaves the room where Mrs. Bardou stays and bids her goodbye. He promptly goes to the other room where Mrs. Jaouen resides and says he will be seeing Mr. Verdier before attending to her. Fabien knocks to the other room before entering and greeting Mr. Verdier, a mute and wheelchair-bound man in the care facility.
Fabien greets him good morning and asks him how his day has been. Mr. Verdier stares at him wordlessly. Fabien approaches the mini bookshelf beside them and picks out a book before sitting in front of Mr. Verdier. Fabien tells him they will continue where they left off and starts to read a poem from the book.
“Hail! Forest still with verdure on your heads, Tho’ thick beneath the yellow foliage lies; Hail! Lingering days of beauty! Nature’s weeds. Befit her grief and charm my gazing eyes. I tread with pensive step the lonely way. For the last time, I love again to see. This dimly shining sun whose feeble ray,” Fabien reads on while Mr. Verdier’s gaze lands on his shaking ankles.
“Scarce penetrates the wood’s obscurity,” Fabien continues. He looks up from the book and notices Mr. Verdier’s gaze landing on the skin of his ankles. He uncrosses his legs, recrosses them, and starts reading again.
“In autumn tide, when Nature fades the while, I find strange sweetness in her veiled repose. It is her friend’s farewell— the last smile. From lips which death will soon forever close.” Fabien’s gaze is trained to Mr. Verdier. He puts the book down, stands up, and opens the curtains. He takes off his overshirt and says that it’s a little hot but it’s a pity not to take advantage of the sun. Mr. Verdier stares at him. Fabien sits back down and picks up the book again.
“Thus ready to forsake life’s utmost bound, weeping my weary past of hope devoid, I turn me still with envious gaze around And view the blessings I have not enjoyed. Earth, sun, and valley—- nature fair and bright.” Fabien caresses his own arm and toys with the sleeve of his shirt.
“Beside my grave, I breathe you each a sigh; so fragrant is the air, so pure the light. So sweet the sunshine to a dying eye. I would that I might even now, the draught of intermingled gall and nectar drain.” Fabien puts a hand behind his head, flexes his bicep, and meets Mr. Verdier’s gaze.
“Deep in the cup of life from whence I quaffed, Perhaps one drop of honey might remain. Perhaps the future yet may grant me long.” Fabien runs a hand across his stomach under his shirt and tenderly caresses his own skin. “Perhaps some stranger spirit mid the throng has thought and felt responsive to my own.” The two men share a look. Fabien continues.
“The falling flower sheds perfumes on the breeze. Its farewells to the light and life’s sweet day. I perish and my soul at its release floats like a soft, sad melody away.” Silence descends upon them. Fabien closes the book and puts it back on the shelf as he tucks his shirt back in. Fabien announces that they may have time for a little walk and asks if Mr. Verdier is up for it. Mr. Verdier stares at him, unable to reply, but Fabien has been doing this for so long. He tells Mr. Verdier he will be back and leaves the room. He comes back with a wheelchair in tow and a cautious expression on his face.