Scott Kirschenbaum’s intimate exploration of the life of a woman with Alzheimer’s made its premiere last fall at Camden. It has also screened at Big Sky, in addition to universities and senior program centers.
Lee Gorewitz suffers from Alzheimer’s and tries to make sense of her daily life in a nursing home in this smart, sensitively-drawn verité portrait. Fittingly, Kirschenbaum’s filmmaking and structure seem to approximate Lee’s experiences – there’s an unusual sense of stasis to the pacing, mimicking the Alzheimer’s patient’s inability to understand or remember the passage of time. The result is a film that is strangely, compellingly watchable, but also often somewhat frustrating – but that’s not a complaint, as it’s wholly appropriate and engenders a tangible feeling of empathy for Lee’s plight. In hand with this are the attempts of the filmmaker to interview Lee – a largely futile, but at the same time revelatory experience for the audience. Throughout the film, the viewer is simultaneously placed in her position, but is also made aware of the voyeurism that’s at play in watching her, heartbreakingly summed up by the film’s title.