Marie's Story: the French Helen Keller


Marie's Story is a French film shot in 2014 that tells the story of a deafblind girl born at the end of the 19th century who until the age of ten received no education due to the almost total absence of communication. At that age, a nun, Sister Marguerite, takes care of her and takes her to a school for deaf children. Marie Heurtin learned to read and write in French because Sister Marguerite taught Marie Sign Language

Cartel de la película de la sordociega Marie Heurtin

The Film Was Well Received

The film received excellent critical acclaim, reaching 7,5 in IMDB and 6,9 in FilmAffinity. Of course, French cinema knows how to use cinema to tell very human stories about people with disabilities, such as the successful film The Intouchables about physical disability or the more recent The Bèlier Family with Deaf people

For people who are deafblind from birth, sign language is their usual communication system, according to the Spanish Association of Deafblind (FASOCIDE).

Discovery of a Deaf Actress

The director, Jean-Pierre Améris, says he was inspired by Helen Keller's story and wanted to make the 'French Helen Keller' film. In fact, Marie Heurtin's story is a true story very similar to that of Helen Keller and of the same time. In preparation for the film, Améris visited the Larnay Institute several times, where Marie Heurtin was brought by Sister Marguerite and where she was educated in real life.

Director Améris discovered what was to be his leading role actress at the National Institute for Young Deaf People in Chambéry (in Cognin, a small town in southeastern France), Ariana Rivoire, a 20-year-old unprofessional Deaf actress who became a revelation. Ariana is deaf from birth and a user of French Sign Language. In the following video, Ariana picks up a film award at the Locarno International Festival in Switzerland:

For her part, actress Isabelle Carré learned Sign Language intensively for six months to play the role of Sister Marguerite. The film crew was supported by a Sign Language interpreter throughout the shooting.


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