Are You With Me
Original title Ben jij bij mij
The documentary ‘ben jij bij mij/are you with me’ portrays Joke van den Broek, an imaginative 92-year-old woman living in the Netherlands. She used to work as a primary school teacher and is a proper storyteller who sees a silver lining in everything. Joke still lives at home and can handle that just fine. Nevertheless, she has to outsource ever more tasks. She doesn’t want to know anything about this. Or… has she perhaps forgotten that she can do less and less? She takes us along, as filmmakers and family, on her experiences over the course of three years. Joke needs to rediscover herself, without her (hi)story and familiar surroundings. There are moments of confusion in the nursing home when her vision and memories become blurry, and there are moments of light when loving family and nature are around her. Without her story, but with proper attention and care, Joke is as wise as ever and teaches us about accepting getting older. Earlier versions of the documentary were shown in a masterclass for elder care nurses in Amsterdam to provide insight into the experience of living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Author/s Mark Lindenberg and Sophia van Ghesel Grothe
The project is the first big collaboration between Mark Lindenberg and Sophia van Ghesel Grothe. Mark graduated from the Film Academy in Amsterdam in 2013, specializing in cinematography, and has worked in the film world ever since. He started studying anthropology and development sociology, specializing in visual anthropology, out of desire to independently make documentaries. Mark’s graduation film, which portrays an Amazonian family communicating with plants to help their clients heal, has been screened at film festivals around the world.
Sophia graduated in interdisciplinary neuroscience and psychology. She works as a psychologist and wishes to further integrate art, science and healing, also by making films. Under the guidance of an anthropologist and a philosopher, she learned how her grandmother can still experience meaning despite having Alzheimer’s disease. Grandmother no longer recognizes her cognitively, but their interaction reflects the loving bond maintained by Joke and Sophia for years. Her grandmother’s experience, or world, is not only in her brain but in her body: in the way she holds her hand and teaches.
Research Mark Lindenberg, Sophia van Ghesel Grothe
Photography Mark Lindenberg
Sound Sophia van Ghesel Grothe, Poul Sven de Haan
Editing Mark Lindenberg, Sophia van Ghesel Grothe