Allan King’s insightful, utterly compassionate film about Alzheimer’s, aging and memory loss was shot over four months at a Jewish geriatric care facility in Toronto.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
“When you're 80, you have the privilege to forget whatever you want.” When this is said towards the end of Allan King’s insightful, utterly compassionate film about aging and memory loss, a hospital visitor is reminding her elderly father that the wise words were his. He’s delighted to hear that he should ever have been so witty – and the film has taken us so deep into his world that we share his elation at having some lucid sense of himself take hold for a moment. Shot over four months with the participation of residents, families, friends and caregivers at a comfortable Jewish geriatric care facility in Toronto, the film introduces us to eight residents struggling persistently to maintain identity despite memory loss. For those of us fortunate enough not to have encountered Alzheimer’s, this is an incredibly informative film. “We do not lose our feelings, our identity, or our need for love, attention, and respect as we lose cognitive skills,” says King. “Our needs are magnified and deserve to be met.” It’s hard to imagine the sorry soul who could watch this sad, but surprisingly undepressing, film and disagree. — BG