'Beauty and the Breast': Finding Comedy in Cancer

by David Weiner 3:42 PM PDT, October 11, 2013
Playing 'Beauty and the Breast': Finding Comedy in Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and an insightful new documentary is shining the spotlight on nine brave women around the world, each grappling with the deadly disease in their own way, with one in particular finding comedy in cancer. Watch an exclusive clip from Beauty and the Breast, guaranteed to make you laugh and cry…

PICS: Star Sightings

"Giving a human face to this disease through the eyes of nine different women dealing with it in nine different ways … I was trying to find how the human touch demystifies cancer and all the preconceptions we have of it," actress-turned-director Liliana Komorowska tells ETonline. "Each one of them has a different angle of that story, with a different treatment and a different place where they are in their life."

Five years in the making, Beauty and the Breast won the Public Award for Best Documentary at last year's Montreal Film Festival. "It took me by surprise; the subject chose me, and I went with it," says Komorowska, whose grandparents each passed away from the disease. "I thought it would be a tribute to both of my grandmothers, and it would be a tribute to both female and human resilience."

The nine women in the film come from all walks of life all around the globe, young and old, and viewers get to follow their real-life rollercoaster ride as they navigate the labyrinthine medical system, erroneous diagnoses, and the emotional minefield that comes with such a life-changing event.

"They talked, they opened their hearts, they opened their life to me, and they had the most intimate interviews and confessions made on screen -- and they're not a victim," says Komorowska. As for Wendy, the comedienne in the above clip, the Polish filmmaker observes, "Wendy's sense of humor opened up a door that I never thought was possible. How could you laugh while you're going through this? It opens up the subject from a completely different point of view."

Asked about Angelina Jolie's headline-making decision to undergo a preventative double-mastectomy earlier this year, Komorowska comments, "It's very, very strong and very radical and very proactive, and that proactive decision comes from a place in very contemporary women that put their life and their health in their hands, and nobody else has to decide. They will decide. In a way, it’s a feminist approach."

She continues, "Imagine screening yourself and living with that risk. It's like a time bomb. … You might miss one appointment and it will be that appointment that you miss and you'll be diagnosed. … Some people don't want to live with that risk on their shoulders."

Related: Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had a Double Mastectomy

Pleased that her film has been so well received, Komorowska concludes, "Ultimately this [film] is about life and how we live. It's not all beautiful and dandy. [Cancer] can happen to anybody at any time, so if we arm ourselves with tools and we start making preventive choices … it brings us to a better place."

CLICK HERE For more info on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Beauty and the Breast is available ON DEMAND today for all major cable networks, with a theatrical release to come later this year.