By late 2004, writer-director Gil Rossellini - son of the late Roberto Rossellini and brother of actress Isabella Rosellini - was sitting on top of the world, with his critically acclaimed debut feature, The Princess of Mt. Ledang a hot property on the festival circuit. Then a bizarre tragedy struck. During a trip to the Stockholm Film Festival, Rossellini contracted a rare strain of staphylococcus that propelled him head-first into a three-week coma. He awoke in the hospital, his body covered with gaping wounds, as the virus ate away large patches of his skin. As surgeons guided him through twenty operations that included extensive skin grafts, Gil grabbed a video camera and began to record his own tortuous journey back to stabilization, via extensive physical therapy and gradual withdrawal from pain-killers. He survived - barely - in a state of partial paralysis, though doctors cautioned him that he might never regain full use of his legs. Rossellini recorded the film of that experience in the feature Kill Gil, Vol. 1 (its title a sly parody of Tarantino's Kill Bill). Its follow-up, Kill Gil, Vol. 2, begins with the director stating his initial assumption that after Vol. 1, the worst would be over - an assumption proven false again and again, as seemingly permanent paralysis sets in below Rossellini's waist, and the director must learn to contend not only with that, but (again) with massive open sores, excruciatingly painful tendon operations, and permanent scars. The film thus charts Rossellini's emotional vicissitudes and journeys over the course of the following year, as he learns to contend with the aftermath of the disease, grappling valiantly to emerge, stronger and wiser, from his own bed of somatic torture.
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