Forget Me Not
Losing Memory - Finding Love
An astonishingly candid, loving and revelatory chronicle of the changes their mother's Alzheimer's disease has on the filmmaker's family.
Directed by David Sieveking
Produced by Martin Heisler, Carl-Ludwig Rettinger
Writer: David Sieveking
Director of Photography: Adrian Stähli
Editor: Catrin Vogt
Composer: Jessica de Rooij
Leading documentary filmmaker David Sieveking (David Wants to Fly) weaves an astonishingly candid, loving and revelatory chronicle of the changes his mother's Alzheimer's has on his family.
"Made with humor and astonishing candor." Alissa Simon, Variety
Although dealing with his mother's disease is painful, caring for her does offer Sieveking a chance to reconnect with his family and immerses himself in the secrets and passions of his parents' long and fascinating lives. Some stories are heroic, while others have left a painful legacy in the couple's long marriage.
Throughout, Sieveking's delicate handling of these revelations moves the focus of the story away from his mother's irreversible mental decline to that of a loving tribute to his mother as a human being with a remarkable life story. What emerges is a poignant and rich study of family ties, the delicate nature of marriage, and the unexpected rewards that come from living life to the fullest.
In German with English subtitles.
Grade Level: 10 - 12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2014
Copyright Date: 2012
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-506-8
"A fascinating journey through memory and history...Using a lens that is intimate, but never intrusive, Sieveking portrays his mother's journey in a dignified manner, showing the complexity of relationships and ultimately, the power of love and commitment. Throughout the film, his mother's beautiful spirit shines brightly."
G. Allen Power, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester, Author, Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care
"Forget Me Not captures better than any other film the everyday challenges of Alzheimer's disease and does so with great respect and understanding. We see all the difficulties in communicating - how the family tries to break through to Gretel, and her occasional moments of understanding tinged either by pleasure or anxiety. This is a great film to show students, because rather than defining or explaining the problems associated with the disease, the film draws us into the moment, so that we experience the immediacy of how difficult it is for Gretel and for her family."
Steven Howard Zarit, Professor and Head, Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
"Forget Me Not is a real and candidly presented film that is spot-on in presenting the impact that dementia has on the individual with the disease as well as their spouse, sons and daughters, their grand-children, as well as their friends. There were so many moments in this film where the non-verbal communication speaks volumes! It was so peaceful to watch Gretel and her family find the true meaning of love in their private journey with dementia. This film is truly honest and most insightful."
Dr. Linda L. Steeg, Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing, University at Buffalo, Board Member of Alzheimer's Association, Western New York Chapter
"This is a beautiful story of a young man facing his mother Gretel's Alzheimer's disease, and learning many surprising things about his parents and their lives. The documentary avoids the sentimentality of many narratives about Alzheimer's and vividly illustrates the symptoms of the disease, Gretel's struggles to function with diminished capacity, and the efforts of her husband and son to provide care in their own unique and loving styles. I highly recommend this film as a compelling story of love and loss as a family comes to terms with their past and does their best to live with the challenges of aging and Alzheimer's disease."
Dr. William Haley, Professor of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, President, Division of Adult Development and Aging, American Psychological Association
"An excellent addition to both undergraduate and graduate level courses that focus on family sociology or the sociology of aging...A valuable instructional tool...An exceptional foundation for understanding the implications of caregiving on the family."
Lindsey Cooper, Teaching Sociology Journal
"I was prepared to see the same kind of story...But after just a few minutes into this family's story, I sensed that this film would be different...One of the reasons Forget me Not is such an engaging film is that Gretel is regarded as a participant, not an object, in the ongoing life of the family...Gretel's personhood is honored into the very last frame of the film...[It] allows us, the viewers, to witness that fading, but sacredly held, moment of loving communication with the person that Gretel still is."
Jim Vanden Bosch, The Gerontologist
"Forget Me Not is as much about the celebration of a long and eventful life as it is about the tragedy of mental decline; vivid, unforgettable, and highly recommended."
The Midwest Book Review
"As much memoir as a view into the lives of those coping with illness, this film will appeal to Alzheimer's caregivers. An excellent addition to foreign film/foreign-language collections."
Laurie Selwyn, Library Journal
"An unexpectedly engaging documentary about a difficult subject...The film is full of humor and surprises; even diminished, Gretel is a charmer, and her resistance to others' expectations feels more like a display of spunk than recalcitrance...Recommended."
T. Keogh, Video Librarian
"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, twitchfilm.com
"Made with humor and astonishing candor, 'Forget-Me-Not' centers on [Sieveking's] mother, suffering from Alzheimer's, but it also compellingly dissects his parents' marriage and his upbringing, as well as that of his siblings. Critical kudos should attract viewers to the tough but tenderly handled subject matter...[Sieveking] not only provides a beautiful tribute to his mother, but manages to movingly convey how her illness forces the family to deal with their own conflicts in a constructive way, and brings them closer together. Family photos and home movies supplement lenser Adrian Stahli's beautifully composed images."
Alissa Simon, Variety
"This is a warm-hearted examination of a difficult and painful subject. It shows the struggle for everyone involved and the way that difficulties can bring people together."
"As a chronicle of a woman's failing dementia and the effect it has on her family; it is definitely moving."
Christopher McKittrick, Vimooz
"Illustrates the memory
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DVD includes English subtitles, and scene selection.
Awards and Festivals
Critics' Week Award, Locarno Film Festival
Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, DOK Leipzig
Special Jury Prize, Documenta Madrid
Millennium Award, Planete Doc Warsaw
Best Documentary, Hessian Film Award
Best Documentary Nominee, German Film Awards
Montreal Documentary Festival
It's All True Documentary Film Festival
DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Zurich Film Festival
Reykjavik International Film Festival
Black Nights Tallinn Film Festival
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
Lichter Film Festival Frankfut
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