Wat eeuwig blijft (1924)



Professor Charles Bosquet devotes his life to searching for a serum with which to combat tuberculosis. His assistant, Stéphane Manin, is working on an apparatus for filming radio-projection so that the functions of human organs can be demonstrated. Stéphane's tubercular sister is being treated by Bosquet. One day Lucienne Derval applies to Bosquet for the position of laboratory assistant. While talking with the girl, he notices that she resembles the woman he loved when he was young and, upon asking her mother's maiden name, learns that she is the daughter.

When Lucienne starts working for him, the Professor falls under her spell. Manin is equally attracted to Lucienne and soon the two young people start to fall in love. Stéphane succeeds with his invention and Bosquet is the first person on whom it is tested. The film obtained reveals that Bosquet is suffering from an incurable disease of the liver, but Manin keeps this secret from his superior. Bosquet asks Lucienne to marry him, but she asks for a couple of days' time for reflection. She then asks Manin what she must do. He advises her to pretend to love Bosquet and promise to marry him after two months, so as to make the doomed man happy during the short time left to him to live.

At a dinner party at the home of the Manin family, Stéphane asks Bosquet whether one is morally obliged to tell a patient that he only has a short time to live, to which Bosquet's answer is "Yes!". Coudret, the Professor's second assistant, has discovered that Lucienne and Stéphane love each other. Because of his jealousy, he sends Bosquet letters telling him about their relationship. The Professor calls the two young people to him and asks Lucienne why she has promised to marry him. He then remembers Manin's question of conscience and, in mortal fear, looks for and finds the film on which the state of his disease can be seen.

Now aware of the fate that awaits him, Bosquet expends all his remaining energy in finding his serum. In this he succeeds, and at his next lecture he informs his students about his discovery. As proof, he brings forward Mademoiselle Manin, the first patient to be treated with and cured by his serum. While the students carry him around in triumph, Bosquet collapses and, shortly afterwards, dies. The end is a symbolical representation of how Bosquet will live on, shown by the erection of a tomb-stone from which the ghost of this saviour of sick people emerges and, as symbol of the active medical man, continues his work.


original title
L'oeuvre immortelle
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Technical notations

Black & White


Geoffrey Donaldson, Of Joy and Sorrow. A Filmography of Dutch Silent Fiction, Amstedam 1997, p. 268

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