A young woman offers a self-description that presents her life in the most glowing terms—telling us what we want to hear. The visual narrative tells a different story, illustrating with heart-rending power the weight of anxiety carried by this driven overachiever as she strives for happiness. The Great Malaise portrays the thoughts and worries of a person who suffers from anxious unhappiness. Approaching the subject in a way that’s both honest and personal, director Catherine Lepage departs from the intimate and arrives at the universal; the strange alchemy of art allows us to overcome pain, transforming it into an object of beauty that soothes and comforts. The film is a small miracle of sensitivity: evoking chaos with precision, it deftly shatters taboos about mental health and allows hope to bloom. Funny and touching at the same time, it is above all a deeply human film.
A young woman describes herself and her life in glowing terms, but the visual narrative tells a different story: with heart-rending power it illustrates the heavy burden of anxiety carried by this worried overachiever.
In the voiceover for this animated short, a young woman attempts to describe herself, casting her life in the ideal light that society expects. The film’s imagery, however, tells a different story, poignantly illustrating the intense anxiety that comes with the quest for perfection and the pursuit of happiness. A film that’s both funny and moving, and above all, profoundly human.
A film by
Based on the books
12 mois sans intérêt (Mécanique générale)
Fines tranches d’angoisse (Somme toute)
Zoothérapie (Somme toute)
By Catherine Lepage
Sound Design and Musical Composition
With the voice of
Pierre Yves Drapeau
Marilène Provencher Leduc
“E Is for Estranged”
Written and Performed by Owen Pallett
Courtesy of Domino Recording Company
Licensing Courtesy of Domino Publishing Company of America Inc.
Technical Specialist – Animation
Nicolas Monette, Anne Paré and Marie Vaillancourt
as well as Simon, Léo, Madeleine and Yvonne Rivest
Senior Production Coordinator
© 2019 National Film Board of Canada