SHEFFIELD - The documentary 'Mother', supported by the Pascal Decroos Fund, will have its world premiere at the Sheffield Doc / Fest this weekend. The film is shown in the 'Doc / Love' section, which collects playful, subversive and tender films that question love and power through stories about identity, equality and family. And that is exactly what director Kristof Bilsen wants to achieve with his film.
The story of motherhood as seen through the eyes of protagonist and single mother Pomm, caregiver of European patients with Alzheimers who were moved to Thailand, sparks the imagination.
While Pomm tries to make ends meet, as she lives separately from her 3 children, we are confronted with one of the taboos of our times, that of dementia and Alzheimers and how to cope with it.
On a universal level, these fascinating stories of the young Thai single mother Pomm, the strangely peaceful constant presence of the patients Elisabeth, Maya (and her family) will invite us to meditate on care in this globalised world.
There is also a personal motivation for making this film. My own mother slowly forgot her past, though her diagnosis was not only Alzheimer's but a mix of various forms of dementia. The process of forgetting advanced imperceptibly slow and thus was also an exercise in acceptance for her and us as a family to eventually letting her go.
I invite you to watch this film, immerse yourself and ask questions, be confused. But most importantly have empathy to appreciate the tension and conflict in what motherhood, what caregiving actually means, or rather the ambiguity of it all. It's easy to say, "We should all care for our loved ones,” but when push comes to shove it’s really more complex and difficult.
The film invites you to question what care means in this day and age. The world we live in is very demanding. But I think empathy, kindness, and think about how you feel about having to be a caregiver for your partner, your children, your parents…and what the possibilities are in this demanding and complex world we live in.'
Photo: © Alexia Leysen