An older woman wearing a simple white sweater over a patterned shirt reflects on her relationship with her parents. Behind her we see people passing by a window, but the view of her face is almost uncomfortably close, so we see every furrowed brow, blink, freckle, eye movement, and wrinkle. We hear a second voice, asking questions about the woman’s relationship with her parents. As the conversation continues, it is revealed that the woman is the mother of the person interviewing her, but she doesn’t remember who she is.
Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter illustrates the progression of Alzheimer’s through a caretaker’s eyes. Deborah Hoffmann discusses her mother’s “periods,” starting with The Dentist Period, where we see endless reminder notes that continue piling up, even after the appointment has already happened. These periods guide us through Hoffmann’s experience, and we take part in her pain and frustration, “but with the Alzheimer’s, there were times where she was very hostile.”
OVID.tv’s COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER Teaches Acceptance
Through family photos, footage of her mother, and interviews with Hoffmann, she reveals her own development, “what does it matter if she thinks it’s April?” Surrounded by mountains of paperwork, pictures of her mother, and trees behind the windows in her office, Hoffmann’s personal journey is encapsulated in this short film. There is very little action or iconic scenery in this documentary, and we instead see widening eyes, creased foreheads, treasured moments of conversation, and weighted pauses from Hoffmann and her mother.
As the inevitable move to a caretaking facility comes to the forefront of conversation, we are surprised as smiling older faces and music fill the screen. In a home meant for those with Alzheimer’s, no longer are the notes piling up, no more are the suitcases being filled with bananas and whatever else might be needed for a trip that will never be taken. Instead “she’s in a place where she’s given constant unconditional love, and she thrives on it.”
This documentary may be for loved ones of those with Alzheimer’s who need clarity or for those who simply want to resonate with Hoffmann’s experience. This honest, simple, and serious depiction of Alzheimer’s is a rare and insightful portrayal of a caretaker’s journey, in this writer’s opinion.
Director: Deborah Hoffmann
Writer: Deborah Hoffmann
Producers: Jan Millar Corran, Deborah Hoffmann
Music: Mary Watkins
Cinematography: Frances Reid
To watch the film, visit the OVID.tv page for COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER
Images courtesy of OVID.tv
About the Author: Sara Perez
Opera singer, acoustics nerd, and activist, Sara is a deeply curious individual who loves the Arts and their influence on communities. She loves reading nonfiction adventure stories like Ballad of the Whiskey Robber and does aerial arts for her health and physical expression. On weekends, you’ll find her cuddling with her beagle and cat or on an adventure exploring Chicago with her husband.