" MOTHER reveals the devastatingly trickster ways dementia transforms a person and emotionally impacts those who care for such people.
A film full of unforgettable portraits of people navigating the most profound challenges. A haunting and gorgeous meditation."
(Kirsten Johnson - executive producer)
"Kristof Bilsen’s film is a radical achievement: a love letter to loss, sacrifice and yearning. An original piece of work, addressing the selflessness of mothers
and the impact of dementia on families"
(Charlie Phillips - The Guardian)
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.
Pomm has sacrificed being close to her children in order to earn a better living, meanwhile in Switzerland a family prepares to say goodbye to their mother; a woman who has developed Alzheimer’s in her 50s.
Mother is an intimate and moving observation, that allows us to explore the struggles and expectations of motherhood and the frustrations of being unable to care for our loved ones.
As two narratives collide in this extraordinary coincidence, the powerful connection between patients and caregivers 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.
(...) A radical achievement: a love letter to loss, sacrifice and yearning. It questions how we care for elderly loved ones, makes provocative contrasts between east and west in the economics of medicine, and, with a central character who’s pure charisma, this is intimate observational documentary-making of a high standard.
★★★★★ The Guardian
(...) tackles the alarming truths behind our care home crisis in his heart-breaking documentary that sees a Swiss family sending their mother across the world to be looked after by strangers in her final years.
MOTHER forces the viewer to question what bliss looks like to us; a luxury getaway is the typical image of Thailand, but, in this humble care centre where cultures collide, the sanguine relationships between those present, both in body and in spirit, is infinitely moving.
Kristof Bilsen continues to establish himself as a gifted documentary voice with MOTHER, a beautiful and sensitive character study of a Thai Alzheimer’s carer. (...) His longest and most fully formed feature to date offers a more global perspective on the neurodegenerative illness than other docs and fiction features made on the subject thus far.
MOTHER provides a powerful insight into the ethical and moral considerations around ‘outsourcing’ care.
A tribute to kindness and solidarity, and also a painful register of the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s on the patients and their families.
Director & Producer: Kristof Bilsen
Written & developed by: Kristof Bilsen & Xan Márquez Caneda
Camera: Kristof Bilsen, Marko Milovanovic, Chutimon Sonsirichai
Sound recordist: Xan Márquez Caneda
Editor: Maarten Janssens
Sound designer & Mixer: Hugo Dijkstal
Music by: Kyle Bobby Dunn
Colorist: Olivier Ogneux
Post-production: CAVIAR Post (Steffen Geypens, Xavier Arijs)
Graphic design & Poster design: Sander Brouwer
Executive producer: Kirsten Johnson
Co-producers: Marion Hänsel, Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen
Associate producer: Steven Dhoedt
Research support by Pascal Decroos Fund and by SACD/Scam
Script and development support by Flanders Audiovisual Fund
and the Creative Europe Programme - MEDIA of the European Union
Production support by Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Netherlands Film Fund and Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel Wallonie Bruxelles
Co-produced by VRT-Canvas, RTBF - Unité de Programmes Documentaires and EOdocs. In association with RTS Switzerland
With support of the Tax Shelter initiative of the Belgian Government
Duration: 82' / 52' - 2K DCP Dolby SR