Mémorable [subtitled]

Memorable

Mémorable was shown in theaters as part of the package of Oscar-nominated animated short films in 2020 (for films released in 2019). It is a French short about an elderly couple, the male half of which is suffering from some kind of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Last year’s Oscar-nominated animated shorts also included one that dealt with dementia, Late Afternoon from Ireland. I thought that was a quite strong film, and I’d say the same about Mémorable.

Late Afternoon strives for more of a happy ending, though it’s really a bittersweet one when you think about it. Actually, I suppose you could say Mémorable too has a scene that’s positive at or near the end, but in a different sense. In Late Afternoon, the film ends with one of the main character’s moments of greater awareness in what is no doubt an up and down, mostly down, struggle with her ailment. In Mémorable, the moment that invites an audience smile of appreciation occurs with the main character still lost in unawareness.

The man in Mémorable is so far gone at times that not only can he not access certain memories or recognize certain people, but he cannot even identify common objects. (I don’t mean just that he can’t remember the name for them, but that he has no clue what they are or what they’re for.) At other times he is able to function tolerably well, though even in those cases he is sometimes bluffing (like when he encourages people to infer that some of the mistakes he makes are his playing the role of the stereotypical senile old person for humor purposes). But his wife certainly knows that he’s in very bad shape and won’t be getting any better.

Two of the five films in this year’s package—Dcera and Mémorable—I thought were especially noteworthy for their animation style itself. Aside from the substance of Mémorable—and in terms of its substance it’s quite good—I very much enjoyed just the visual experience of seeing it.