REVIEW: Mémorable [Memorable] [2019]

Score: 9/10 | ★ ★ ★ ½


Rating: NR | Runtime: 12 minutes | Release Date: 2019 (France)
Studio: Vivement Lundi
Director(s): Bruno Collet
Writer(s): Bruno Collet

“Don’t let go of me”

Animation allows an artist so much more room to breathe than live action—especially when confronted by issues we can’t see with the naked eye. Bruno Collet‘s topic is dementia and his short film Mémorable [Memorable] depicts it with a stunning beauty via post-modern styles. As Louis’ (André Wilms) falls further behind reality, his view of the world gradually degrades into visions of melting objects (surrealism), disfigured visages (cubism), and a decrease in detail until he himself becomes smoothed out along the edges (impressionism). He begins as a clay-formed figure meticulously sculpted like his wife Michelle (Dominique Reymond) despite his surroundings losing clarity. She becomes the last thing grounding him before his depleting memory can hold no survivors as life disintegrates into color on its way towards oblivion.

It’s a powerful drama that refuses to pull its punches regardless of whether we know where it must end. Sufferers of dementia can sometimes get by depending on how far along they are, so Collet lets Louis deflect from his fear with jokes and trick others via charisma even though he has no clue who the people he’s tricking are. Michelle is the one who sticks by his side, watching his devolution in real time. She’s the one who sees how each day takes something from him that he’ll sadly never get back. So when it’s time to finally say goodbye—an unavoidable imperative either in death or forgetfulness—the bittersweet sorrow of experiencing a final glimpse of life amidst an uncertain abyss is nothing short of heartbreaking.

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