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A Christmas Tale

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Cast
Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Anne Consigny
Released
1998
pericyazine | cyamemazine | loxapine | clozapine | haloperidol
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Junon, who already lost her first born son Joseph to leukemia (0:00) must find a bone marrow donor to treat her Burkitt's lymphoma. Her 16 year old grandson Paul who suffers from Schizophrenia (0:34) and her son Henri (Junon's middle child, an alcoholic) prove "compatible" potential donors. Henri's wife Madeleine was killed in a motor vehicle accident after only 6 months of marriage (0:47).

Elizabeth (Junon's second chilld) tells her psychotherapist she hates him (0:04, 0:10). Transference? She rescues Henri from a financial debacle on the condition that she will never see him again (0:08), introducing us to the intense family dynamics. We discover that Junon too dislikes Henri, but we can only guess how this comes about.

Paul, upset after hearing about his grandmother's illness, threatens his mother Elizabeth with a knife. After an unidentified man disarms him he almost jumps to his death in the stairwell (0:14), but the man stops him and an ambulance takes him to a psychiatric hospital (0:12) where he tells his uncle Ivan (Junon's youngest) that people can read his thoughts because of antennae attached to his head. We see some other evidence of his illness. In one scene he hallucinates a black, wolf-like dog (0:36), and he describes the experience later (2:11). He tell his uncle, "I take Haldol" (0:40). We see a handwritten list of Paul's medications (mostly antipsychotic) surrounded by a syringe and blister packs ():53): Neuleptil, Tercian, Loxapac, Leponex, Sulfarlem (tartrazene). Would we consider this polypharmacy? Maybe some are left over from failed trials. Paul must appear before a committee in a "Child Psychiatry" wing to seek approval to serve as a bone marrow donor (1:04).

A physician tells Henri he may go into "DT's" during the bone marrow aspiration procedure (1:16).

Invites speculation about sibling configuration and roles: Ivan, youngest, became the replacement child. Henri, middle child, became the black sheep. He was also youngest, and the only other boy, during Joseph's illness and death. He was at home with  his mother and his older sister while father Abel stayed with dying Joseph at the hospital. Elizabeth appears to have achieved most, having written 5 plays, but asks her father why she so often feels sad.