Forget Me Not (Vergiss mein nicht)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – 7:30pm
Germany 2012. Director: David Sieveking

Gretel, the mother of German filmmaker David Sieveking (David Wants to Fly), has Alzheimer’s disease. In the four years since the diagnosis, his father, Malte, has been acting as Gretel’s primary caregiver at their home near Frankfurt. Exhausted, Malte has asked his son to look after Gretel so he can take a two-week vacation in Switzerland. David arrives with a small camera crew in tow, and thus begins Forget Me Not, a candid and touching (though never maudlin) portrait of a family both tested and brought closer together by the effects of severe dementia. On his own with Gretel, David’s initial attempts to cajole her into regularly-scheduled activities are both funny and sad. As frustration turns to acceptance, he begins to realize he knows very little about his mother’s past. Digging into her colourful history, David discovers Gretel in her youth was a radical feminist, active in leftist political causes, and, most surprising of all, had an open marriage with Malte. “A beautiful and emotional film, one that doesn’t pull the strings of your heart because it wants to, but because the reality of this family demands it” (Jaime Grijalba Gomez, The film’s awards include the Critics Week Award at Locarno. Colour, Blu-ray Disc, in German with English subtitles. 88 mins.

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Post-screening discussion with Dr. Kevin Smith, who did his medical school training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and his General Adult Psychiatry Residency and Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at Oregon Health & Sciences University. Dr. Smith is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UBC and is involved with the Geriatric Psychiatry Outreach Teams at St. Paul’s and Mount Saint Joseph hospitals.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.