IN ‘THE FATHER,' THE DISORIENTATION OF DEMENTIA
Techlife News|Techlife News #488
In Florian Zeller’s “The Father,” Anthony, 80, in the grip of dementia, is a captain ready to go down with the ship. Overhearing his daughter and son-in-law contemplating a nursing home, he curses them as “rats” abandoning him. Pacing his London apartment in a bathrobe, he mounts a noble resistance.

“I am not leaving my flat!” he shouts.

But if the battle lines are clear for Anthony, little else is. Every time Anthony leaves a room, when he re-enters, the light has shifted, the furniture is rearranged and sometimes even the people are different. In staging and perspective, “The Father” mimics the disorientation of dementia. Anthony, a regally theatrical man played by Anthony Hopkins, is an actor who every time he takes the stage, the scene has changed before him. Timelines, settings and faces are all kaleidoscoped by a splintered memory. His ship — his flat — might not even be his.

“The Father,” which opens in theaters Friday, is Zeller’s directorial debut but he’s a well-known French playwright and author who’s here adapting his own play, one that’s been put on around the world. (On Broadway, the father, named Andre, was played by Frank Langella. In London, it was Alfred Molina.)

Dementia is often seen on screen but usually from the viewpoint of an intimate watching their loved one recede away. Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, which likewise remained set within an elegant apartment, gazed with a cold, clear eye on a great love violently fading.

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