Ralph and The Gift of Alzheimer’s
Follow the five steps below to get the most out of your UnLonely Film Festival experience!
Step 1: Watch the film.
Life changed for Ralph and Karen when Ralph was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Both doctors, each took an approach to the disease that turned a potential tragedy into something unexpected and vital as they met the potential alienation and isolation of this progressive disease with a positivity and perspective.
About the FIlmmaker
Dylan Tuccillo, a NYC-based director, editor, and motion graphics artist has created video content for major brands and has also co-written a work on lucid dreaming published in 11 languages. In addition, he has worked on screenplays, music videos and filmed a rare interview with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for the French American Foundation.
Did you set out to explore loneliness in your film and if so, what prompted this focus?
“Not exactly, I think the theme is woven into the disease of Alzheimer’s. I imagine it’s hard to escape loneliness for both caretaker and those afflicted.”
Alternately, did you recognize a theme of loneliness as your project developed?
“I’m not sure I consciously focused on it, but in retrospect, it’s certainly there, even in the faces of the subjects.”
Did any of your viewers give you feedback that reflected this aspect of your film?
“I have been told the film is very true to the experience of this disease, and loneliness is such a big part of the illness.”
What do you hope UnLonely Film Festival audiences, trying to make sense of loneliness and isolation and navigate a path forward, take from your film?
“As Karen tells us in the documentary, life and death are a part of the experience of life, and the phenomenon of life is a gift even with the human things that come with it, like loneliness. Perhaps something like loneliness helps create its opposite: connection and love.”
Step 2: Explore these things after watching the film.
- Ralph and Karen, both medical doctors, each took an approach to the disease that turned a potential tragedy into something different. What are some of the positive moments this couple experiences while going through the stages of Alzheimer’s?
- Karen said, “We are living and dying all the time.” Sharing their long goodbye gave her and Ralph the great gift of intimacy, strengthening their love bond. Can you relate to her experience of the living/dying process?
- Can you think of a challenge from your own life that also gave you the gift of insight?
- Find a quiet area to sit outside. Look up at the sky. Look into the clouds and what do you see? Do any particular shapes stand out? Do they form pictures, do you see any animals, is there a story here? Photograph the clouds, and observe how flattening the image changes it. Do any new images appear?
- Think of a challenge that became a gift to you in some way, distill that down to one word, write the word down, fold it up and put in a drawer to be found later.
- Think of a fond memory. Write a poem about it, using your stream of consciousness, your intuition. Cut the poem up line by line, rearrange them in different ways, noticing how the meaning of your language shifts with each variation.
Our Try This page has even more creative expression inspiration!
Step 3: Join in the conversation about the film.
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