Latest News from the Cosmos

Directed by Julie Bertuccelli

85 minutes / Color
English; French / English subtitles
Release: 2017
Copyright: 2016

"I've written a message on the door to the bubble as a gift to my friends with well-connected neurons…As a free storyteller the cosmos nourishes my voyages."—Babouillec Sp

For most of her life, Helene, who lives with her parents in rural France, did not communicate. And then, at the age of 21-despite having had no formal schooling or ever having been taught to read or write-she did. By arranging laminated alphabet letters, Helene created words, then phrases and finally a book, one letter at a time.

film still

And then another book. Under the pen-name Babouillec Sp (the letters stand for sans parole or "non-verbal"), this autistic woman writes poetry that can be soaring and childlike, surreal and funny, dense with allusions and filled with insight. Helene's most recent volume is Eponymous Algorithm, which her parents helped to adapt for the stage. LATEST NEWS FROM THE COSMOS draws us into Helene's world as the play is developed. In a film unlike any other portrait of a writer, director Julie Bertuccelli (SCHOOL OF BABEL) prompts us to contemplate the nature of creativity and communication, and the hidden potential in humans of all abilities.

"An absorbing portrait of human creativity. Inspirational and informative... If ever there was a movie warning us not to judge a book by its cover, this is the one."The Hollywood Reporter

"Nearly 30 years old, an autistic woman can barely utter a few words. We assume she's behind but discover she's way ahead. When Helene Nicolas takes hold of the letters placed on a table, she becomes a poet who, under the pseudonym Babouillec, delivers astonishing thoughts and visions."Telerama

"Placed before this explosive personality, in constant conflict with a very strong interiority that Helene cannot express in speech, the viewer simultaneously becomes a voyeur and witness to a continuous miracle. Unsettling and captivating."Premiere

"Having never learned to read, at age 20 Helene began to compose striking and inspired texts, which describe her vision of the world and society. The film empathetically questions the mysteries of art and intuition."L'Humanite

"An outstanding film; the camera’s relationship with the writer and her remarkable mother offers an essential lesson in humanity." Grand Prize Jury, Festival of Films on Art (FIFA)

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A film by Julie Bertuccelli

Select Accolades

  • Best Documentary Nominee, Cesar Awards 2017
  • Grand Prix, Festival of Films on Art 2018
  • Audience Award, Montreal Documentary Film Festival 2018
  • Tournees Film Festival 2017
  • Lussas Documentary Festival 2016


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