Short film documentary, 20 minutes, to be released in autumn 2020
April 2020, the world stands still. People keep their distance. Doors are closed. Vulnerable groups are protected. Particularly affected: the elderly in old people’s and nursing homes. And their relatives. Living and dying are shielded from the public, from the pandemic.
What is it like, after an effective life of independence and autonomy, now to live cut off from the outside world, in the care of a nursing or old people’s home. What is it like to be a carer in this situation? Head of the institution? To work in the kitchen, in the cleaning, in the housekeeping, in the secretariat? What is it like for the relatives who can no longer visit? What is it like for the residents not to be able to see their relatives?
For twelve days, around the family festival of Easter, we go into self-isolation in a nursing home in the Rhine Valley of St. Gallen. Open to what we will encounter, what will emerge from the collected answers and material. With us will be a film and photo camera and an audio recording device.
Numerous conversations at all times of the day and night with the staff, meals together and garden walks with the residents, specific interwies with the management lead to a whole that raises new questions. What has shaped life? What holds it together? What gives meaning? What is life still worth in old age?
Using the simplest technical means, we immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the nursing home. Corona loses its central importance and fades into the background. People with their questions, fears and thoughts gain in importance.
And yet: without the lockdown, the pictures and recordings, the closeness to the people in this way would not have been possible.
In reviewing the material together with the Swiss filmmaker Michelle Brun (last collaboration: MARE NOSTRUM), the potential of the content was recognised and so the decision was obvious to process the authentically close images, conversations and film recordings into a short documentary film.
Michelle Brun took the dramaturgical lead in the post-production in the form of editing and directing and wove interviews, photos, film footage and the letters and diary entries provided into an atmospheric whole.