A documentary shows his illness in all its harshness

Prime Video premieres a documentary that shows how the Canadian diva stands up to Stiff Person Syndrome (SPR), which she was diagnosed with two years ago

We knew everything about Celine Dion. The child prodigy who volatilized all the records in the music industry. The one of Beauty and the Beast. The one of Titanic. The one who grew up with 14 siblings in Charlemagne (Quebec). The one who spent her entire professional and sentimental life linked to veteran producer René Angelil, since he discovered her when she was just 12 years old until his death in 2016.

Four years ago, the comedian Valérie Lemercier dedicated an apocryphal biopic to him, titled Aline, which the singer didn’t even want to see: perhaps because it was very bizarre (Lemercier, who is her age, also performed it as a child). In 2007, Carl Wilson published an essay, translated as shit music (Blackie Books), from his album Let’s Talk About Love that, like Falling into you, sold 30 million copies. Very popular, icon kitsch and perhaps both at the same time, the singer who reached the highest notes had to add a new chapter to her unusual life, this time marked by the illness that left her unable to sing.

The documentary that Prime Video premieres today exclusively does not have a first-person title by chance: in I’m Celine Dionthe singer opens the doors of her mansion in Las Vegas, where she lives practically confined, with her two young children – the twins Nelson and Eddy (René Charles, the oldest, wayward and gambling player barely appears) – since she was diagnosed. he Rigid Person Syndrome (MRS), a very rare neurological disease, affecting one person in a million, mostly women.

Shortly after starting this documentary made by veteran Irene Taylor, who was nominated for an Oscar for a short film about polio (The Final Inch2009), we see the singer on the floor, folded over herself in the strange position that those who suffer from MRS adopt when they have an attack, caused by any overstimulation, whether stress or a simple startle.

At the end of the footage, we witness a crisis in real time, throughout a very tough ten-minute scene, in which we see how Little by little his muscles contract while his face becomes disfigured. in a grimace of unfathomable terror and howls in pain, while his physiotherapist, following protocol, administers medication, until, very slowly, he recovers and, in an exciting climax, ends up singing one of his favorite songs: Who I Am by Wyn Starks. It’s a particularly epic ending, because we’ve seen her in the studio before, trying to record love again, without being able to be satisfied. For her, the important thing was never “the song, but the interpretation”, that is, the prowess, the technique, reaching the highest note, while, in that scene, dressed in a casual dress, without makeup, with a thread of voice, singing over the original, only the emotion remains.

Inevitably dominated by the story of the illness, I’m Celine Dion It’s a gift for fans. Not only because her dog Bear appears or the gigantic warehouse where she keeps all her memories, like her first tutu, all those dresses that she has worn only once “because they made a lot of impression”, or that collection of shoes that would be the envy of Imelda Marcos, but because she has never been seen so open and so helpless, remembering the moments in which she took 90 milligrams of diazepam per day -“an amount that could have killed me”- or the one in which he had to “stop lying” about health, and start canceling concerts. She is the diva without a voice, who does not know if she will be able to sing again, “although I cannot remain in doubt.” In recent weeks, she has donated two million dollars to the fight against SPR through her own foundation.

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