Celine Dion Offers A Portrait Of Resilience In Vulnerable Documentary

Celine Dion said Monday that her “passion as a performer will never fade,” despite health issues she claims are only a small part of her epic journey.

“I’m not dead,” the singer told AFP on the red carpet, ahead of the premiere of the both wrenching and joyful documentary “I Am: Celine Dion”.

The movie focuses on her soaring career and more recent challenges with a rare neurological disorder that has drastically hampered her ability to perform.

“When life imposes something on you, you have two options. You deal with it or you don’t want to deal with it,” Dion said.

She described her decision to speak out about her health in the documentary as “the greatest gift and the greatest responsibility,” expressing hope that it might inspire others facing similar challenges.

Prior to the debut, the Quebec-born diva turned to her native French, telling journalists that “it’s hard to be here.” At the same time, I am deeply moved.”

“I feel that I still have a lot of support and a lot of love and I hope this documentary will help, because it helped me a lot,” she said, detailing her gratitude to her family, her medical team and her fans.

“Even if it’s a forever fight, one day at a time.”


The 56-year-old revealed in December 2022 that she had been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, a degenerative autoimmune illness that has no cure.

She was obliged to cancel the rest of her performances indefinitely.

Treatment can help relieve the symptoms of the illness, which can cause stiff muscles in the chest, arms, and legs.

Overstimulation can also produce severe spasms and an uncontrollable crack in her voice.

“The show will still go on,” she promised, but said it was important to be honest about the physical and emotional intensity of her condition.

Irene Taylor, the Academy Award-nominated director behind the film, told AFP that Dion’s one ask was to be able to tell her own story, in her own words.

“Would that be possible? Instead of other people talking about me?” she recalled the superstar requesting.

“That was like music to my ears as a storyteller,” Taylor said.

“She just opened up and was very authentic,” the director continued. “In her joy, and also in her suffering.”


‘Love letter’

The intimate video includes archival footage of the world’s most famous and beloved performer, as well as emotional sequences at home with her children and dogs that provide a funny, comfortable portrait of Celine as a parent.

However, the video also depicts the extremity of Dion’s misery, including a lengthy moment in which the singer suffers from a seizure, rendering her immobilized but unable to speak.

Some in the screening audience burst into tears as a result of the terrible occurrence.

However, the documentary’s central theme is Dion’s love for her family, friends, and music, rather than her illness.

She is plainly devastated by the loss of her former voice, yet the film highlights her joy in life and unwavering sense of humor.

The documentary about Dion, who has sold over 250 million albums over her career, will be available for global streaming on Prime Video on June 25.

Dion made a surprise appearance at the Grammys earlier this year, where she presented Taylor Swift with the Album of the Year award.

However, she has made few public appearances since admitting she had SPS.

Dion compared herself to an apple tree as she spoke to the full, passionate audience in Manhattan before the screening.

She also uses the metaphor in the film, stating that she has always felt obligated to provide shiny fruit for admirers willing to pay high prices and wait in lengthy lines for her concerts.

Dion was moved to tears when she relayed a note from a recent fan who informed her, “We’re not here for the apples — we’re here for the tree.”

“This movie is my love letter to each of you,” she said to a standing ovation.

“And I hope to see you all again very soon.”

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