Japanese Title: 「折り梅」
Director: Hisako Matsui
Based on a true story, the film starts when an elderly woman named Masako was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her suffering affected her son Yuzo’s family who decided to take care of her. The most affected of the family is Tomoe, Yuzo’s wife. Tomoe had to do something protect her mother-in-law who at first couldn’t accept the fact that she has Alzheimer’s. For every violent act that Masako has done, it felt sad that in the end, she just forget know what happened; Masako even reached to a point when she physically hurt Tomoe who had to endure it because of her awareness of the disease that her mother-in-law had. She would complain to Yuzo about Masako every night and she also had to face humiliation in front of other people because of her mother-in-law.
Tomoe had to do something to preserve her family and at the same time tame her mother-in-law and accept her condition.
What I learned from this film is the idea of understanding other people’s condition or feelings and not hesitating to ask them what we can do for them so that we can bring peace to everyone. I personally liked Masako’s story of the apricot tree which is the tree of the mothers and it brings her back to her childhood memories of being with her mother near the beach. When you learn about people through listening to their stories and words of wisdom, you can find a way to connect with them and empathize with them. And you do end up caring for them. Sometimes, we have to be in someone else’s world so that we can give them the best treatment that they think they deserve. And this was the case with Tomoe who struggled to make peace with Masako.
As clear as the film could be in terms of plot, it did have tearjerking moments. And once again, a Japanese film was able to silence its audience on the most important parts. This film was shown in the Japan Foundation weeks ago and usually, we do meet people and talk at the end of the film. I was able to speak with a gentleman who told me exactly, “I lived that movie!”, because he did have a loved one who has Alzheimers and his family had to struggle in taking care of her until they figured out that those with mental disabilities like the ones with Alzheimer’s have a world of their own and have an understanding that they carry throughout their lives as they attain the disease. And the responsibility of the loved ones is to make sure that they don’t mess with the world that the people with Alzheimer’s created and show love all the time even in small gestures.