How to Care for the Senile
About IDFA
How to Care for the Senile
IDFA 1990

How to Care for the Senile

Chihosei rojin no sekai
Haneda Sumiko
84 min
Festival history
Japan is moving into an era in which the care for a large group of elderly people will cause great problems. Special attention must be paid to the treatment of 1.5 million old people who are suffering from some sort of senile dementia. Treatment has not been perfected yet, and medication is still in an experimental stage of development.
This film attempts to demonstrate how respectful these patients could be treated. It states that they deserve full recognition for the life they have led, but also for the way in which they express their will to survive. They try to make this final chapter of their lives as valuable as possible.
Director Haneda follows a few female patients in a special hospital. One constantly lives under the impression that she has had nothing to eat all day. Another is busy all day to find her way back home.
Some of the patients forget events that occurred ten minutes earlier, whereas they can easily remember numerous songs they learned when they were children. Haneda has filmed a remarkable paradox: when the patients return to the clinic after New Year's Day, their emotional reactions do not differ from those of healthy human beings. Whilst they may be mentally deranged, their emotions have remained intact.
With growing respect, Haneda falls in the spell of these, often tragic, people. By showing their experiences to an audience, the director hopes to clarify their situation and to foster some sympathy for them.