Absolute Beginners portrait six gene positive people and their reflections on the onset of Huntington’s disease. Watch it now!

Absolute Beginners is a creative documentary presented by the French Huntington association Dingdingdong and directed by Fabrizio Terranova. You can watch it with German, English, Spanish or Portuguese subtitles on their website:

From dingdingdong:

A film about the art of life as a metamorphosis

When Huntington’s disease (HD) occurs, it changes everything: body, soul, moods, thoughts, emotions, energy… and also relationships with beloved ones. Undergoing the test that determines if one carries the genetic mutation already means a deep transformation of life. Most of Huntingtonians have tohide their status, be it to avoid social segregation in their workplace, and/or respect the anonymity of the family relatives that may be carriers as well.

Six persons who are gene positive have decided to speak to others Huntingtonians in a film, Absolute Beginners. They are experiencing the onset of their disease, and they know that, when it comes to their metamorphosis, they will always be “Absolute Beginners”.

Alice Rieveres in Absolute Beginners. Photo: screenshot, Absolute Beginners

In this film, they share how they cope with HD in their life – past, present and future. They tell us how they gain empowerment and well-being, through acceptation of their difference, peer-to-peer meetings, and inventions from their own happiness-making genius. They are experts in searching what they need to reinvent themselves as they evolve together with the disease.

Absolute Beginnersis a film about the art of life as a perpetual metamorphosis.

What they think

– I think Absolute Beginners is an extremely beautiful, poetic and delicate piece that resonates dignity and empowerment. Congratulations to all the brave Dingdingdong people for making the HD world a little less shortsighted!

Filipa Júlio has a BSc in Clinical and Health Psychology (University of Minho) and is currently finishing her PhD in Neuropsychology at the University of Coimbra. She is a board member of the European Huntington Association and Portuguese Huntington Association.

– A cinematic work of art, “Absolute Beginners” shares the inner dialogues of six individuals revealing the depth of their concern for the future, the private effort required to enhance their resilience in facing it and the power of spirits in similar circumstances truly allied. Their intimate reflections are both humbling to see and hear; and something to be hold as fellow travelers. 

Jimmy Pollard is a former educator specializing in autistic children, then a teacher in Educational Sciences. He also spent twenty years with patients from Huntington in care homes as a care supervisor. He is the author of the famous “Hurry up and wait”, a deeply sensitive manual that teaches how to cultivate good relationships with people with advanced illness.

Some of the people in the film had to stay anonymous because of stigmatization. Photo: screenshot, Absolute Beginners


Created in France in 2012, Dingdingdong – Institute of coproduction of knowledge in Huntington’s disease aims to produce knowledge about Huntington’s Disease in order to provide pragmatic solutions so that users – whether they are carriers, patients, family, friends or caregivers – can live honorably with their disease. 

Our goal is to convey the HD experience through the ones living it, as they have to cope with something that potentially concerns many of us : the diagnosis of a genetic disorder. Such an undertaking requires a unique alliance between users, researchers (scientists, philosophers, sociologists, historians etc.) and artists (visual artists, writers, choreographers etc.), so that together we can succeed in our mission : exploring HD as if it was an unknown planet, Huntingtonland.

Watch Valérie Pihet, co-founder of Dingdingdong, talk about the documentary:

Find the full documentary here.