Vital involvement versus ultimate confusion: two contrasting portrayals of dementia in the movies The Father and Floride

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Esther-Lee Marcus
Amir Cohen-Shalev


This paper addresses the possibility and importance of cinematographic rep­resentations of dementia that offer an alternative to its popular medicalized stigma. This is explored by comparing two film adaptations of the same the­atrical play by Florian Zeller, The Father. While The Father’s (2020) film version by Zeller himself does not depart from the notion of dementia as a story of decline, Le Guay’s Floride (2015) focuses on the main character’s ability for imaginative storytelling. Through narrative analysis, we demonstrate that while Anthony’s confusion in The Father is an utterly despairing sign of cogni­tive decline, that very confusion is a vehicle for playful imagination in Floride. The vitality underlying such acts of unbridled imagination, along with a mat­ter-of-fact approach to the interruptions of dementia, challenges the negative, deeply seated stigmas of persons living with dementia. Juxtaposed in this manner, these two adaptations provide a unique opportunity to re-examine the role of popular culture in dementia discourse.


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Author Biography

Amir Cohen-Shalev, Faculty of Society and Arts, Ono Academic College, Nethanya, Israel

 Professor, Faculty of Society and Arts


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