Garden of Life

  • Marco Niemeijer
  • Netherlands
  • 2017
  • 72 min
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In the past, the now 82-year-old Leo happily traveled with his wife Riet to faraway lands. But since the first signs of Alzheimer’s, the father-in-law of filmmaker Marco Niemeijer prefers his own backyard above anywhere else. There, surrounded by his beloved trees and plants, Leo tries to keep hold of his increasingly confusing existence. Over the course of a year, Niemeijer films Leo every month, from season to season. Whether rain or shine, Leo can always be found in his trouble-free refuge. At first his words and actions are coherent, but as time passes, these become increasingly illogical. Leo begins to wander more aimlessly, playing with a thought and then losing it. Various mantras help him deal with his situation, such as "What I’m not looking for, I will not miss." The intimate yard scenes alternate with old home videos made by Leo during his wanderlust years. Leo prefers not to speak about problems or illness—though his inspired explanations of the garden’s different plants unconsciously refer to his own demise.

Credits

  • 72 min
  • color
  • DCP
Director
Marco Niemeijer
Production
Marco Niemeijer
Cinematography
Marco Niemeijer
Editing
Marco Niemeijer
Sound
Marco Niemeijer
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