Award winning director and filmmaker, Rea Tajiri captures an alternative perspective into the world of dementia and caregiving in a new feature documentary, “Wisdom Gone Wild,” to be premiered at Philadelphia’s annual Blackstar Film Festival. Rather than centering a film around the disease of dementia, the film is to center around valued content of a long lived mind. The documentary is set to be screened on Saturday August 6th at 3pm at the Zallerbach Theater, Penn Arts Live. Tickets can be purchased for virtual and in-person screenings on BlackStar Film Festival website.
Wisdom Gone Wild presents a daughter’s (Rea Tajiri) evolution towards a new way of seeing aging and mortality through her sixteen year journey as a care partner to her mother who lived with dementia. At 93, Rea’s mother, Rose Tajiri is a time traveler, a history keeper and a chronicler of Japanese American experience. Diagnosed with dementia at the age of 76, Rose’s non-chronological access to key historical events is cued through daily encounters and reminiscences. “My intention was to create a film that is a reflection on the possibilities of care, connection and communication with someone living with dementia. The form of the film is a non-traditional storytelling structure that criss-crosses time much like my mother’s cognitive style,” said Rea.
Embarking on a sixteen-year journey, Rea gains insights through listening to the metaphors in her mother’s conversations. Rose shares her stories about incarceration in a World War II concentration camp and a childhood in the Japanese American strawberry farming community of Salinas, California. Rea learns to tune into Rose’s hopes and fears as they create a unique relationship based on play, improvisation and humor. Together, they nurture their connection through listening, art, and music. Rose performs songs from her youth, providing the soundtrack for time travel, as we witness her evolution across nine decades of living, each transformed by a journey through memory and the mind.
The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by Black, Brown, and Indigenous people from around the world. This year, The BlackStar Film Festival returns as a hybrid approach due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and will take place from August 3-7, with in-person and virtual screenings, panels, an evening show, parties and other events.