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Groundbreaking Feature Documentary about Alzheimer's Patient Nov. 7

Story posted November 03, 2011

Filmmaker Scott Kirschenbaum will screen and discuss his groundbreaking feature documentary You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't at 7 p.m. Monday, November 7, 2011, in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center.

A panel discussion with Kirschenbaum, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Rick Thompson, and film scholar Sarah Childress will follow the screening.

LeeGorewitz.jpg
Lee Gorewitz

A total immersion into the fragmented experience of mental illness, You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't is the first documentary filmed exclusively in an Alzheimer's care unit, told from the perspective of someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

In Danville, California, Lee Gorewitz wanders day after day on a soul-searching odyssey through her Alzheimer's care unit. Confined by the limits of her physical boundaries, she scavenges for reminders of her old identity in the outside world.

Lee scours photographs of family members for clues. Yet her search is for more than a word, or a memory, or a familiar face. It is a quest for understanding.

Although the cognitive deterioration due to Alzheimer's is devastating, Lee Gorewitz embodies the resiliency of the human spirit. Here is the Alzheimer's odyssey of a woman who will not let us forget her—even as she struggles to remember her self.

"There have been a handful of Alzheimer's-related films in the last five years—all of which privilege the lucid perspective of individuals living without the disease, like family members or doctors," notes Kirschenbaum. "I knew from the onset that this film needed to be different—it needed to be wholly about Lee's present-day existence within the walls of the Unit. Lee's life was, in essence, an Alzheimer's odyssey, a meandering string of transitory interactions and experiences. I wanted to help Lee tell her own story." Watch the trailer...

During the panel discussion, Thompson will discuss the brain, its functioning, and related behavior issues. Childress will talk about the ethics of documentary representation, how the film works to provide a "first-person" representation, and how such representations are ultimately limited.

You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't premiered internationally at DocAviv in May 2011, and will be broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens in spring 2012. It was also an official selection of the 2011 Camden International Film Festival.

A participant in the 2010–2011 SFFS FilmHouse Residency, Scott Kirschenbaum's projects include A Soapbox In Haiti, a speaker series that premiered on four major Haitian television stations on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake; and Elementary Cool, a short fiction film that premiered at Playworks' "Play On" Conference in fall 2010, participated in SFFS Youth Education's "Filmmakers in the Classroom" program, and is the centerpiece of an anti-bullying outreach campaign.

The screening and panel discussion are open to the public free of charge; and are sponsored by Bowdoin Lectures and Concerts; the Neuroscience Program; and the Departments of Psychology, Biology, and Film Studies.

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