In the centenary of his death, French television honours Pasteur with a film describing the years from 1880 to 1885. Those were the years of the fight against rabies, an invisible enemy.
The film presents Pasteur as an enthusiastic scientist, intentionally putting his public and private life in the background. Inspired by real facts, the story shows features similar to a thriller; in scientific research, in fact, it is often chance or intuition that allow great leaps in knowledge to be made.
A new way of seeing of scientific research is described in this film: research not only sheds light on unknown areas, but opens up a perspective on what Pasteur calls the “impenetrable mystery of the life and death”.
The story begins at the point when Pasteur is elected to the Medicine Academy. Pasteur is about 60 years old; although a hemiplegia attack struck him in 1878 he is still a sturdy man with an extraordinary ability to work.
This official personal success - although to this point he is already a notable scientist - does not disarm his enemies. On the contrary, they speak out, incited by Peter, one of the great surgeons of the age.
What do they accuse him of? Firstly of not being a doctor. Then of seeing microbes everywhere.