If I use the analogy of poetry upfront, this film is a visual poem that is devoted to mothers, grandmothers and sisters from all of us, monstrous beings who owe our lives (and sanity) to them. This incredibly rich and complex film touches upon a number of issues but in this short essay I would like to see this film as a beautifully crafted work that plays with the socially constructed concept of sanity and insanity.
In the early 1990s, the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag wrote ‘Samuel Beckett: What is the Word?’ This is a setting of Beckett’s last poem (initially with piano accompaniment, and later expanded for reciter, soprano, choir and small orchestra). The circumstances of the production of this piece are remarkable, and perhaps doubly so. They expose much about the nature and purpose of art and poetry in the face of suffering and the loss of articulacy.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a terminal neurodegenerative condition that causes cognitive decline and dementia in sufferers. In the UK, around 820,000 people have dementia, with AD being responsible for around 60 % of all cases. Like other forms of dementia, AD is an extremely debilitating condition. Sufferers find it increasingly difficult to perform the every-day tasks necessary for independent living, and eventually require help with the simplest of tasks. As a result, most dementia sufferers become substantial users of health and social care services.
‘You do love words, don’t you?’‘If one doesn’t have words how does one think?In her book, I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory, Patricia Hampl says:'How uncanny to go back in memory to a house from which time has stolen all the furniture, and to find that one remembered chair, and write it so large, so deep, that it furnishes the entire vacant room. The past comes streaming back on words, and delivers the goods it had absconded with.'