The Making Of ALZHAÏMOUR
I made and produced documentary films for over twenty years without ever thinking about making a Fiction Film until the day I had to deal with what happens to a lot of couples today.
After 22 years my family broke up and I had the impression that the world was collapsing around me.
After this breakup, I stopped all my professional activities and started to write like crazy. I felt so bad. One of my friends, a screenwriting took the time to listen to me with the patience of a psychologist, day after day, to try to help me exorcise all the anger I was containing.
I was telling strories and he was listening tirelessly. Finally, we ended up rewritting the text together.
I would like to take the opportunity to deeply thank him for his patience, friendship and his engagement.
In the course of 2015 and 2016, for more than a year, I wrote three screenplays in collaboration with him : “Alzhaïmour” (Short Film), “Caballo Loco” (Short Film) and “As a horse in winter (Feature Fim).
Alzhaïmour - Official Trailer
“Alzhaïmour” was the first story that came to my mind. It is evident that the emotional context, I was facing, is at the origin of the story. When a couple separates sudently and definitively, does it means that all traces of Love have disappeared? Is there nothing left?
My intend was to try to explain that even if two persons who have loved each other do not remember each other, whatever happens, even if they become amnesiacs, the Love that has unified them at one point of time remains printed in their DNA. By choosing a film about Alzheimer's disease I have tried to demonstrate it but wanted to present it in a poetic and not dramatic way.
It is, of course, an idealistic vision of Love. I know this vision may seem naïve but all what remained to me was my faith in what has always been my drive : the trust in the power of Love.
Often when couples meet by chance 20 years after they did split, they wonder how they could have loved each other.
I made this first fiction to keep faith in my ideal of Love but also to humanize a disease that affects more and more families today. That's how I came up with the idea of the title “Alzhaïmour”. You will have noticed that it’s a contraction of two words coming from “Alzheimer” (the disease) and “Amour” (Love).
The main idea that came straid to my mind was : a couple who was split for a long time, contracted both the same Alzheimer disease and happens to meet each other in the same Nursing Home.
They do not remember having been married and yet they are mysteriously attracted by each other. Something does that they are magnetised, without being able to explain why. Every day, they seduce themselves to start again the next day as they do not remember what happended the day before etc…
The climax of the story reaches its paroxysm when the son discovers the relationship....
With my 20 years of experience in the audiovisual world, I was convinced to easily find the budget to do and produce this Film.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and I couldn’t find any financial support so I went through the following questionning : do I quit or do I continue? Will my carreer as a Fiction Film Director ever exist?
I seriously thought about abandonning the Film Project. But my team, which was entirely made up of my former students, offered me to participate on a voluntary basis. I wasn’t fan of this idea as I believe everybody is entitle to be paid for the work they do. Never, would I ever expect such a wonderful solidarity, support and I owe them the power and the willingness to finalyse the Film.
I would also like to take this opportunity to deeply thank them all…
We ended up finalizing the film in the course of April 2017 in three days only. It has been hectic mainly due to the limited availability of the team members and due to the difficult financial conditions.
Learnings : this experience has teaches me how to tell a story. It made me realized, little by little, while we were editing the film that it contained too many said truths, too much morality, not enough sub-texts. As a consequence, I decided to shorten the Film which was of originally of 20’ to a 14’36’’ version. It really is the review of the script that has teaches me the most. Today, I fully understand the subtexts importance by giving the viewers the choice to interpret the story as they feel it and drawn their own morality.
I am currently preparing my second Film Project "Caballo Loco” which is about an amazing story in Colombia and the United States of America. Initially, it was written to be a 30’ Short Film but I would now love to make it as a Film Feature. My first Feature Film!
I firmly decided to pursue my career as a Fiction Film Director and I am looking forward to finding a Producer to support my Project.
I do not think…… Like when you fall in Love…
Telling stories, with image and sound, is part of my DNA. “Turn to not turn bad”, is my motto.
I wrote also a second feature screenplay, very autobiographical "As a horse in Winter", a road movie in USA, Belgium and Portugal.
Therefore, today, I am actively looking for a Producer Company that would help me creating this new film... “Crazy Horse” ("Cheval Fou").
Pierre Van de Kerckhove