Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company
Format: Digital Betacam Colour
Runtime: 112 min
Allan King Associates Ltd.
Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company is yet another stirring, complex and emotional look at the human condition from venerable documentarian Allan King. Here, his compassionate camera captures the feelings and behaviours of eight lively residents of Toronto’s Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care over the course of four months. Each subject is coping with the debilitating effects of dementia in various forms, including Alzheimer’s disease. The film documents their struggles with a great deal of empathy, warmth and an inviting sense of humour.
Shot in classic vérité style, the film employs no narration, no direction of action and no conventional interviews. We observe the daily life of Max, who can usually be found wandering the hallways, cane in hand, singing the day away or spending time with his friend, Claire. The indomitable Ida is a former caregiver who wants to be more active but is physically incapable. Helen, on the other hand, has changed so completely that she no longer recognizes her own daughter.
Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company is a profoundly moving testament to people confronted with a frightening reality. Heartbroken relatives face the prospect of spending years caring for loved ones whose memories flicker or fade but who retain spirited and immediate feelings and desires. King expertly documents the need for – and the power of – companionship, and in the process conveys a great deal about what it means to be human.
The film premiered to great acclaim at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival® and was broadcast nationally in Canada in February, 2006. It was named one of Canada’s Top Ten of 2005 by an independent, national panel of filmmakers, programmers, journalists and industry professionals.