It's not often that the word romantic can be used when viewing a film dealing with the subject of Alzheimer's, but such is the case with Belgian director Pierre van de Kerckhove's no-budget 15-minute short film Alzhaimour, an endearing and warm-hearted short currently experience tremendous success on the film festival circuit.
Once you've seen the film, you won't be surprised.
Alzhaimour stars Brigitte Louveaux as Louise, a 68-year-old woman living in a nursing home with Alzheimer's Disease, her only human contact being fellow residents, kindly staff and the occasional visit from her otherwise distracted son, Daniel.
Then, Leo arrives.
Played by Yves Jadoul, the 82-year-old Leo arrives at the nursing home with a dash of Errol Flynn inter-mixed with his equally challenging diagnosis of Alzheimer's. For Louise, however, Leo sparks something special inside and about the time Daniel arrives for a visit he ends up getting much more than he ever bargained for.
Winner of at least 26 awards during its first 3 months on the film festival circuit, Alzhaimour is an intelligent and inspired love story, a sweet and sentimental little short film that will hold your interest from beginning to end and likely have you dancing in your own seat thanks to the energized, electrified musical accompaniment.
While films about Alzheimer's are often viewed through the lens of tragedy, Alzhaimour is actually about two people who have Alzheimer's and it's definitely a love story.
The film benefits from two terrific performances from its co-leads. Brigitte Louveaux is a quiet, understated joy as Louise, a woman who seems to soak up every ounce of love and affection she can find and whose entire physical being changes when Leo begins to pay her more than a little attention.
Yves Jadoul, whom the director noted had recently passed away, leaves behind a legacy that is quite beautiful and a performance here that is spry, fun, lively and immensely loving.
Alzhaimour is a refreshingly human look at a disease that can so often be dehumanizing. This film is a joy.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic