I am here, I am there
(work in progress)

Film title: I am here, I am there.


Short description: My project is a personal inquiry upon the remaining connections that remain available to us, even after our loved ones pass, as they are still there, even if no longer in form.


Planning: Momentarily in post-production.


Technical specifications and production details: Digital + Super 8 


Language: Dutch, English

Style, narrative structure: documentary, experimental

 

Synopsis: The film is constructed upon one last letter dedicated to Ruud Van Pinxteeren, a 68 year old Dutch man suffering from Alzheimer’s, who passed away last year.

 

The filmmaker started this film as a puzzle of reconstructing his past through the stories of others. But as time progressed, she started to face all kinds of personal dilemmas, when dealing with subjective memory. In the end, she decided to addresses one last letter to him, in which she expresses her positioning in relation to his story.


As she speaks to him, the letter becomes a portal, a space into the inner world of the psyche. This way, she makes a parallel between the loss of memory as illness and the lack of connectivity between us and our dear ones, which is translated through video diaries filmed by him and his father.


These home movies are dating from the 1970’s until beginning of 1980’s and mostly depict holiday moments, anniversaries and family trips.

"We are all of us lost in the chasm between our desire to recapture the past and the impossibility of a pristine return” - Catherine Russel


When we speak about performative documentaries, we relate to a different set of resources that could be either: found footage, re-enactment, personal experiences. And can also be worked through a variety of creative strategies in order to create a much more fragmented, but emotionally charged account of a certain event.

In performative documentary, the narration voice plots a space between fact and fable. The same way that in psychoanalysis, the patient recounts the dream, revising it and substituting a verbal narration for what was originally "experienced" as a dream.

 

The narration represents a travel loge; a fictional journey, one that is rooted in dreams, and is not limited to the temporal and spatial limitations of our primal senses. It is non-linear, it is fragmented.

It is a similar process to remembering a state of mind that is experienced in deep sleep. The text is speculative. And the images are correlated with lost moments in time, filmed by Ruud’s father.

In re-inscribing these images in new narratives, I hope to encourage the viewer to question the subjectivity of their own experiences; the meaning we give to events and images of our past. 

 

And I believe that this is where the question of positioning comes into play. To address this question, I would like to correlate it to my personal upbringing.

Growing up, I remember the illness of my grandmother. She suffered from Alzheimer’s in her last years of her life. She was around 80 when her illness started. Up to that point, she was the oldest and the strongest woman in my family, with a very sharp memory and incredible inner strength.


After her passing, my aunt wrote her mother's memoir;  In this book, she memorised both the years of her illness and my family's past. And for that, I feel incredibly grateful to this day, as she was the one who took care of her in her last period of her life, and so managed to give meaning to all those years of struggle.