Eternal Flame is a feature length documentary about women from different cultures connecting through their shared experience of acid attacks. The film chronicles the multiple challenges these women have to endure – the most difficult one being the psychological battle of trying to be accepted in a world where physical beauty is heavily valued.
One of the characters in the film is Patricia Lefranc. Patricia was attacked with acid by a former boyfriend outside her apartment in Brussels in December 2009. She spent three months in a coma and eight months in hospital following the attack. The perpetrator was later sentenced to thirty years in prison for attempted murder.
We began filming Patricia in Brussels, following her everyday life – from visits to the doctor, to spending time with her family. We documented her performing everyday tasks and we contrasted this with her thoughts about her current situation. We discussed the stigma surrounding her appearance and we got to see the public’s reaction to it. Since coming out of the coma Patricia has had to endure over one hundred surgeries. The film not only shows us the procedures involved in her battle to improve her appearance but also her internal struggle to recover emotionally and spiritually.
This is a film not only about violence against women but about the perseverance and courage of women. The story documents the full spectrum of what we, as humans, are capable of. From the depths of our most vile failings, to the pinnacle of what we can achieve in our darkest hour. Especially our darkest hour.