“If your mother can’t remember who you are,” says one of the subjects of “Carers,” “then she’s no longer your mother.” Bleak but not depressing, clear-eyed but not despairing, Oskar Tejedor’s docu is an emotional roller coaster that not only addresses the emotional and physical consequences of coping with Alzheimer’s, but quietly celebrates the human spirit’s ability to triumph over adversity. Tube pickups are likely, with limited fest play deserved.
Patients featured range from those in the early stages of the disease to those who are wheelchair-bound and beyond all communication, and Tejedor records several wrenching sequences, such as one woman’s faltering attempts to prepare a meal. However, the docu primarily focuses on their unnamed caretakers, whose meetings, grouped by topic of discussion, provide the film with a structure. The carers themselves are unfailingly articulate, providing voiceover alongside cunningly edited images of their daily struggles, through which they display compassion, humor, bafflement and stress in equal measure; one woman, in the pic’s most draining scene, breaks down on camera. Pascal Gaigne’s delicate piano-based score musically re-enacts fragile lives pushed to the breaking point.