Five European films about memory loss and the strength of family and love

A list of European films that delicately portray the way memory loss affects people’s lives with extraordinary intensity:

Forget me not by David Sieveking (documentary, 2012, Germany)

Forget me not is a film about the filmmaker’s mother, who, like two million others in Germany, suffers from Alzheimer's disease. David Sieveking's parents had been a part of the student movement in the 1960s and had an open relationship, which is dramatically put to the test by the disease, with the whole family having to deal with unexpected conflicts. Made with humour and astonishing candour, Forget Me Not, through its use of personal archives and video chronicle, provides a human look at Alzheimer’s disease, and the way it shatters families. The film won the Critics Week Award at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival, and will be released on VoD on 2 May, as part of the Docs from around the world collection.

Head Full of Honey by Til Schweiger (2014, Germany)

Winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 German Film Awards, as the highest grossing film of the year, Head Full of Honey is a tender story full of love and affection, looking at the special bond between 11-year-old Tilda and her grandfather, Amandus, who is slowly losing his memory. When his son cannot cope with Amandus any longer, and is about to send him to a nursing home, Tilda tries to prevent this in whatever way she can. 

A Second Childhood by Pupi Avati (2010, Italy)

A Second Childhood is the story of a couple and the strength of their love. The film follows Lino and Chicca. Lino suffers from serious memory problems that, slowly but surely, get worse and start to interrupt their daily routine. At first the couple decides to laugh it off, but the problem manifests itself more and more until they receive the diagnosis – a degenerative brain disease that's destroying his brain. The film won the Special Silver Ribbon from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists in 2011.

Flore by Jean-Albert Lièvre (documentary, 2014, France)

Flore is a personal documentary by Jean-Albert Lièvre, who is faced with his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. Watching her condition steadily worsen, Lièvre takes his mother to a house in Corsica, which becomes a turning point for both of them. The film starts out as a mobile phone camera recording the negative effects of drugs, and becomes an emotional documentary about the power of nature and the journey back to life.

Iris by Richard Eyre (2001, United Kingdom, United States)

Winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a BAFTA for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Iris beautifully captures the true story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband, John Bayley, from their days as students and through her battle with Alzheimer's disease. The film stars well-known performers such as Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville.

30 April 2016, by Cineuropa