Earlier this week the Alzheimer Society of Canada shared a link to a short film via Facebook and Twitter. Produced by a young British filmmaker, David Cooper, whose grandmother was diagnosed when he was 14, The Call is “being used to spearhead a global campaign supporting dementia charities throughout the world.”
The four-minute film is based around a call into a radio program. The script was written using words shared by people Cooper interviewed over about a year-long period. It is extremely powerful in its simplicity as it relays the love and heartbreak, as well as the resentment and guilt felt by a husband whose wife doesn’t always know who he is.
Portraying the impact of Alzheimer’s in film is something I’ve always thought was particularly challenging –– how does an actor or actress portray the watery expression in the eyes of someone who has been robbed of their memories?
Watching that portrayal can also be difficult –– it took me most of a weekend to recover from watching The Notebook on a Friday night, and I’ve yet to be able to get through Away From Her in a single sitting.
Part of the brilliance of The Call is that it manages to convey all that needs to be conveyed through the voice of one man telling a very simple story. It can be watched, and listened to, over and over.
For loved ones listening, it reminds them that they’re not alone –– what they feel, others feel. For people who have no direct experience with the disease, it helps them understand.
Kudos to David Cooper for producing and sharing this. Kudos to Sir Patrick Stewart for adding an appeal.