By Ryan Keating-Lambert
The highlight of the festival for me so far. A stunning portrayal of the lives of the elderly, both tragic and absolutely gorgeous.
Directed by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Yann Coridian, French documentary A Young Girl in Her Nineties (Une Jeune Fille De 90 Ans) is centred around residents in a nursing home. Most of whom are in their 80s or 90s. Performance artist and dance choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang reguarly visits the nursing home and encourages the residents to do some dance and movement exercises to wake them up a bit, and of course give them some genuine human connection. The results are astounding.
Thierry’s main focus is on Blanche – an Alzheimer’s patient. The two develop a remarkable relationship over the course of the documentary as he fills her to the brim with life and confidence through expressive dance. He also speaks to her as an equal.
Although I was extremely upset for majority of this film, I’d highly recommend it. There are wonderfully quirky moments littered throughout and directors Tedeschi and Coridian really capture the essence of what it is to be that age, and what it is to lose so much of that livelihood that we take for granted.
The residents are never made fun of, nor are they exploited in any way. We are an observer within the institution’s walls, never an intruder. There’s an irresistible air of curiosity to everyone.
You will fall in love with Blanche and think about her long after the film has finished. What was she like? What did she do? What a wonderful watch…. bring the tissues though.
Photo: One World