MOTHER
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    MOTHER

    Directed by

    Belgium

    2019

    82 min

    • English
    • Thai
    • Swiss German

    Documentary

    In a small village in Thailand, Pomm takes care of Europeans with Alzheimer’s. Separated from her children, she helps Elisabeth during the final stages of her life, as a new patient arrives from Switzerland.
    MOTHER is a character-driven film that allows us to explore the struggles of motherhood and the frustrations of being unable to care for our loved ones. It is the powerful connection between patients and caregivers that will challenge our preconceptions. Both Pomm and her patients are trying to recover the pieces of their lives that are gone, but through love and kindness they will learn to care for each other.

    Awards

    • Special Mention (International Award) - Sheffield Doc/Fest
    • KNF award for best Dutch film (honourable mention) - IFF Rotterdam

    Festivals

    Labels & Line Ups

    Credits

    Screenplay
    Kristof Bilsen
    Xan Márquez Caneda
    Cinematography
    Kristof Bilsen
    Marko Milovanovic
    Chutimon Sonsirichai
    Editing
    Maarten Janssens
    Music
    Kyle Bobby Dunn

    Director's Statement

    The story of motherhood as seen through the eyes of protagonist and single mother Pomm, caregiver of European patients with Alzheimers who were moved to Thailand, sparks the imagination. While Pomm tries to make ends meet, as she lives separately from her 3 children, we are confronted with one of the taboos of our times, that of dementia and Alzheimers and how to cope with it. On a universal level, these fascinating stories of the young Thai single mother Pomm, the strangely peaceful constant presence of the patients Elisabeth, Maya (and her family) will invite us to meditate on care in this globalised world.
    There is also a personal motivation for making this film. My own mother slowly forgot her past, though her diagnosis was not only Alzheimer's but a mix of various forms of dementia. The process of forgetting advanced imperceptibly slow and thus was also an exercise in acceptance for her and us as a family to eventually letting her go.
    I invite you to watch this film, immerse yourself and ask questions, be confused. But most importantly have empathy to appreciate the tension and conflict in what motherhood, what caregiving actually means, or rather the ambiguity of it all. It's easy to say, "We should all care for our loved ones,” but when push comes to shove it’s really more complex and difficult.
    The film invites you to question what care means in this day and age. The world we live in is very demanding. But I think empathy, kindness, and think about how you feel about having to be a caregiver for your partner, your children, your parents…and what the possibilities are in this demanding and complex world we live in.

    Sales
    DECKERT DISTRIBUTION
    Production
    LIMERICK FILMS

    Press

    A beautiful and sensitive character study.

    David Katz, Cineuropa

    A tender portrait of a charismatic carer.

    Charlie Phillips, The Guardian

    An original piece of work.

    Charlie Phillips, The Guardian

    Infinitely moving.

    Rhiannon Topham, Reel Steel

    Fascinating and thought-provoking.

    Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia

    Kristof Bilsen

    Kristof Bilsen

    Belgium

    It is a matter of trusting the process in making a film. Of course, you have your ideas and your concepts, but it's constantly questioned by going through the process of making a film.

    Kristof received his Masters in Documentary Direction at the National Film and Television School (UK). In 2014 he released ELEPHANT'S DREAM, a portrait of three state-owned institutions and their workers in DR Congo, a film he directed/filmed and co-produced.
    He is an IDFA Academy and EURODOC graduate and is one of the Emerging Producers for Jihlava 2019. He won several awards, such as Grand Prize Nanook-Jean Rouch in Paris, Magic Hour Award at Docs Against Gravity (Warsaw), the TRT 2nd International Documentary Award in Istanbul, Special Mention Bertha Best International Documentary at One World Media Awards (UK), the Buzz Wilson Award at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival, and his work screened at various festivals internationally.
    He regularly teaches and gives workshops on documentary research, storytelling and production and he is one of the Emerging Producers 2019.
    He is Member of EURODOC, Directors' Union Flanders and Flanders Doc.
    His film MOTHER (2019) had its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

    Selected Filmography