What is left of us when we are left without memories? Alan Berliner, a regular at the Festival and one of the most prestigious independent filmmakers in USA, puts his amazing capacity at the service of experimental film, human feelings and aesthetic sense in his portrait of his cousin, friend and former mentor Edwin Honig, who has Alzheimer’s.
Premiered at the New York Film Festival and winner of the first prize at IDFA, First Cousin Once Removed is a sequel to the short film that earned him the Award for Best Short Film at Punto de Vista 2011, Translating Edwin Honig: A Poet’s Alzheimer.
Berliner himself is coming to Pamplona to present his film in its Spanish premiere at one of the Special Sessions of Punto de Vista 2013.
This is filmmaker Alan Berliner's intimate portrait of his cousin, friend and former mentor Edwin Honig, who is living out the last years of his life with Alzheimer's. Honig was once a prominent and highly successful poet, translator, literary critic and university lecturer. In the final stage of his disease however, he has lost almost all connection with his past, his family, and his personal identity. But sometimes in conversation, his poetic soul flickers back to life again, producing beautiful moments as he striggles to describe what is happening to him.
This sensitive documentary tackles Edwin Honig's illness with compassion and humour, describing the story of his life with the same raw candour that characterized his poetry. Conversations with friends and family members paint a fragmentary picture of a life marked by tragedy, love, loss, irony and literary daring. Together, Honig's personal history and the study of his mental decline are more than the sum of their parts: this is a film essay about the fragility of being human, and the profound role of memory in all of our lives.
Berliner's experimental documentary films, Wide Awake (2006), The Sweetest Sound (2001), Nobody’s Business (1996), Intimate Stranger (1991), and The Family Album (1986), have been broadcast all over the world, and received awards, prizes, and retrospectives at many major international film festivals. The San Francisco International Film Festival called Berliner, “America’s foremost cinematic essayist.” The Florida Film Festival called him “the modern master of personal documentary filmmaking.” Over the years, Berliner’s films have become part of the core curriculum for documentary filmmaking and film history classes at universities worldwide, and are in the permanent collections of many film societies, festivals, libraries, colleges and museums.