Still Alice: The Gone Past

Karl 2022-04-19 09:01:51

In recent years, several films about Alzheimer's disease have attracted attention. First, Sarah Polley's "Away from her", based on the short story "The Bear from the Hill" by famous author Alice Munro, and then the famous director Michael Haneke's 2012 film. The moving and shocking "Amour" (Amour), and this "Still Alice" starring Julian Moore, also tells the story of Alzheimer's disease. Unlike the previous two films, Moore's Alice, who is just over fifty, suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Until now, human beings are still helpless about Alzheimer's disease, and at the same time, the symptoms caused by this disease have caused some complications that other types of diseases do not have. In the film, Alice tells her husband that she would rather have cancer so that she doesn't have to deal with the memory loss that Alzheimer's disease will cause next. And amnesia, which is perhaps one of the most feared things in human beings, has a series of consequences caused by the disappearance of memory that we have not been able to face or deal with until now. Whether it is the husband who thinks he can deal with his wife's amnesia in "The Willows and Flowers", or the old couple who have lived together for most of their lives, their initial persistence and affirmation will eventually collapse under the unpredictable status quo that follows. There is such a cruel and heartbreaking scene in "The Willows", where the wife living in the nursing home completely forgets her husband. He became a complete stranger, greeted politely and walked by. This is perhaps one of the greatest harms of Alzheimer's disease, which makes us forget about those we love dearly, no matter who they are, who end up being strangers.

To a large extent, it is not this independent body that composes ourselves, and it requires double affirmation of self-consciousness and others. That is, on the one hand, we must first know who we are, and have consciousness and reason to solve our own doubts and contradictions; on the other hand, we need other people (others) to prove our existence and relationship in society. Relationships are themselves a means of shaping people. And these two requirements will eventually be connected in our memory. Memories first let us know who we are, but also reflect to us the relationship of others to ourselves. So in the end a big part of us is our past, those memories of others and ourselves. And Alzheimer's destroys the memories that matter so much to us in the first place.

So when Alzheimer's begins to eat our memories, the traces on the drawing paper that were once full of stories begin to fade away, as Simboska wrote in the poem "Golden Wedding Day" "as all the colors faded to white." In the end, there is only a blank piece of paper left. At this time, everything has to start all over again, but like a goldfish, it can only maintain short-term memories, so Alice in the middle of the deep whirlpool will eventually become like Nolan's film "Memento" Like the protagonist in the novel, he is forever forgetting what happened just now. This moment becomes the past in an instant, and when he starts to remember, he has already forgotten. As her condition worsened, Alice realized that she would end up being one of those old, bewildered, empty-eyed old people in the nursing home, so she began to plan things out while she had memory and reason left.

In the movie, Alice prepared herself to commit suicide in the future when she was seriously ill, and the underlying reason why she told her husband that she hoped to get cancer was the same because people lost their memory and lost their dignity in the process of forgetting themselves and others around them. Lead to. On the one hand she knew that she would end up being a burden to her husband and children, and more seriously, that in this devouring process she was completely unable to resist, she would realize at some sudden sobriety that she was simultaneously losing her dignity and dignity. The most basic things about being a person. Alice suddenly can't find the bathroom and wet her pants; she's such a good and smart college professor that she doesn't even know who she is or how she's going home. This is a humiliating process for a professor like Alice, or anyone else. Alzheimer's only devours memory, but it will cause many subsequent injuries related to personality and dignity in a chain-like manner.

Neither "The Willows" or "Love" finally gave anything like "salvation", that's how things are, life is like this, the memory is gone, and life goes on. That's all there is to it. In Haneke's "Love," the story eventually comes to a terrifying and heartbreaking end. In Still Alice, the director tries to figure out how people should face or what else to do in such a situation. At the end of the film, the youngest daughter Lydia reads "Angels in America" ​​to Alice, whose memory is hazy and even begins to speak, and asks if she knows what the story is about. Alice speaks of love and speaks of love. This is the first message the director gave us, and before that, when Alice was still in the early stages of her illness, she gave a speech to the Alzheimer's Association. In her speech on the heart of a patient with Zheimer's disease, she mentioned "living in the present" and "it's not pain, it's struggle. Struggle to fit in, struggle to continue, struggle to keep in touch with the past", and also mentioned "There is still pure joy and pleasure in every day." "Live in the moment" is perhaps the most important point the director wants to tell us, even for Alzheimer's patients. Even if only goldfish-like memories are left in the end, there is still such a short moment, forget it and then there will be another moment. Even if these brief little scraps of paper don't hold any connection anymore, which may lead to panic, it doesn't matter anymore, just remember the present!

Without memory, Proust could not have written such a grand and charming "Reminiscence of the Years", we are all cut off and standing in an unfamiliar place in isolation. Have we really thought about what would happen to us if those memories were no longer connected and could not communicate with each other, and all we could have was the memory of this moment? This may be a terrifying question, because we will have to face the painful process of finding ourselves as the protagonists of Memento, because knowing who we are will always be a hugely important question for human beings. At the same time, for those who are deeply in love, remember that the same is true for them.

At the end of the article, I must say something about the acting of my favorite actor, Julianne Moore. In this movie, everyone else is playing soy sauce, and she is acting alone throughout the movie. And unlike those explosive performances (like last year's "August: Osage County"), Moore's performance in this film is restrained and restrained. Each expression point ends, and all performances contract inward, eventually forming a giant magnetic field in the center. I noticed this way of her acting in my favorite movie "The Moment". Those nervousness and panic, the fleeting sadness and pain on their faces, and the tears flowing out of their eyes unknowingly... For this kind of performance, maybe it won't resonate much when I first watch it, but it However, it can form the effect of water slowly infiltrating into the sponge unconsciously, which makes people memorable. Just like the "Pit Shop" filmed by Chinese director Chen Junyan, a simple movie sketch will make people have a huge "post-reaction" aftertaste.

2014 12. 17 night

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Extended Reading

Still Alice quotes

  • Dr. Alice Howland: Good morning. It's an honor to be here. The poet Elizabeth Bishoponce wrote: 'the Art of Losing isn't hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.' I'm not a poet, I am a person living with Early Onset Alzheimer's, and as that person I find myself learning the art of losing every day. Losing my bearings, losing objects, losing sleep, but mostly losing memories...

    [she knocks the pages from the podium]

    Dr. Alice Howland: I think I'll try to forget that just happened.

    [crowd laughs]

    Dr. Alice Howland: All my life I've accumulated memories - they've become, in a way, my most precious possessions. The night I met my husband, the first time I held my textbook in my hands. Having children, making friends, traveling the world. Everything I accumulated in life, everything I've worked so hard for - now all that is being ripped away. As you can imagine, or as you know, this is hell. But it gets worse. Who can take us seriously when we are so far from who we once were? Our strange behavior and fumbled sentences change other's perception of us and our perception of ourselves. We become ridiculous, incapable, comic. But this is not who we are, this is our disease. And like any disease it has a cause, it has a progression, and it could have a cure. My greatest wish is that my children, our children - the next generation - do not have to face what I am facing. But for the time being, I'm still alive. I know I'm alive. I have people I love dearly. I have things I want to do with my life. I rail against myself for not being able to remember things - but I still have moments in the day of pure happiness and joy. And please do not think that I am suffering. I am not suffering. I am struggling. Struggling to be part of things, to stay connected to whom I was once. So, 'live in the moment' I tell myself. It's really all I can do, live in the moment. And not beat myself up too much... and not beat myself up too much for mastering the art of losing. One thing I will try to hold onto though is the memory of speaking here today. It will go, I know it will. It may be gone by tomorrow. But it means so much to be talking here, today, like my old ambitious self who was so fascinated by communication. Thank you for this opportunity. It means the world to me. Thank you.

  • Dr. Alice Howland: I was looking for this last night.

    Dr. John Howland: [whispering to Anna] It was a month ago.

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