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Please Remember Me 2015

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Violet Du Feng
Directed by Zhao Qing
Streaming, 88 mins

Middle School - General Adult
Alzheimer Disease; Dementia; Health Services

Date Entered: 11/28/2023

Reviewed by Bryan J. Sajecki, University at Buffalo

Relationships naturally change over time, kind of like the seasons. There is the summer, where the sun shines and there are no clouds in the sky. Then there is autumn, where the temperature starts to cool off, trees shed their leaves, and flowers wilt in preparation for a rebirth after the cold, icy winter. The thing about seasons is they always cycle through and begin again, with the spring reminding us that nature relies on the season before for guidance. There is a bond, and it is unspeakable, organic, and beautiful. But nature, just like relationships, can be unpredictable.

Please Remember Me is a documentary that highlights the lives of Feng and Lou, two individuals from Shanghai, China who have been together for forty years. As husband and wife, they have shared a wonderful life together, and as a “package deal” have constantly been there for each other. However, their relationship has been forever altered by Lou’s loss of memory due to dementia from Alzheimer Disease. Her daily struggles are met with frustration, as she often goes in and out of understanding what she is doing, who people are, and most importantly, where her husband is. The viewer sees the pain and confusion on her face, and then how the mood lightens when Feng reappears. She desperately needs him, and he is falling apart. While Feng wants to provide the best care for his wife, he questions his own mortality. In the words of his son, “Love alone is not a solution.” If love isn’t enough, then what is, and how come it appears so difficult to remedy the situation?

Please Remember Me is a very emotional film, as viewers can connect with the pain and sorrow related to not being able to fix a situation for someone they care for. The film’s director, Zhao Qing smartly marries the themes of undying love and partnership with the struggles of the healthcare system in China, and how dementia can be truly stifling. The camera work is very simple, using the couple’s conversations to chronicle the unprecedented challenges both are facing in their daily lives. In between scenes, transitions with traditional Chinese music are intentionally paired with long shots of the outdoors and nature.

This documentary will be a strong addition to any academic library, as it provokes questions about healthcare systems and the treatment of the elderly. Additionally, the film appeals to a broader, public audience, as dementia and Alzheimer’s is commonplace in society. Viewers should take note that Please Remember Me is filmed with a Shanghainese dialect and contains English subtitles.

2016 Winner, Golden Kapol Award (Best Documentary Feature) at the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival (GZDOC); Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature, 2016 Lighthouse International Film Festival

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