It’s not every day I’m invited to a film premiere. So I jumped a the chance to see the first showing of ‘Every Quiet Moment’ last Friday (30/5/2014). This short film explores three generations of men as they grieve the loss of their grandmother, whilst coming to terms with their grandfather’s advancing Alzheimer’s disease. See the trailer here.
One of the producers questioned me after the film looking worried: did I think the film felt authentic? I reassured him that to me, it was. Perhaps the most believable part of the story was the grandfather’s impassive nature, often seemingly lost in a world of his own, whilst around him a maelstrom of emotion catches up his son and, to a less extent his grandson. It is a picture I recognised immediately. Some families, certainly not all, live in a seemingly constant state of anxiety, concern and constant speculation of ‘what is he/she thinking?’. To my mind the son was grieving twice, having lost his mother and also grieving for the father who feels lost to him.
Almost inevitably for a film about dementia there were flashbacks to an earlier life. What struck me as particularly realistic was the vague nature of these flashbacks. There is a myth that people with Alzheimer’s have a perfect recollection for earlier life events, but in reality when one scratches beneath the surface these are often repeated stories and much of the fine detail has gone. So it felt right to concentrate on sensation and feeling rather than the details.
Large parts of the story were told visually, and the non-verbal communication captured much more than the appropriately minimal script, a glance here or a smile there spoke volumes. The acting performances were excellent and not at all overstated.
Although I’ve concentrated on the dementia aspect, the film explores much more than that and is certainly no documentary. It paints a picture of people coping with a whole range of emotions in a thoughtful and heartfelt 20 minutes.
My host was James Murray-White who was involved in a small advisory role with this film and represented Alzheimer’s Research UK at the event. James’ own exploration of his mother’s illness through film is compelling.
If you get the chance, I would strongly advise catching Every Quiet Moment. I hope that we’ll be able to include it in a future film event in Cambridge. I will let you know if we can make it happen.