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Still from Finding Camille

Finding Camille at the Electric Palace

Finding Camille puts the focus on Alzheimer’s

Local film-maker Bindu De Stoppani hosts a special screening at the Electric Palace cinema this weekend of her latest feature, Finding Camille. Here, Annie Waite hears about Bindu’s process for creating this moving, intimate and at times heartbreakingly humorous on-the-road journey of a father and daughter getting to know each other.

In Finding Camille, the central character’s headstrong father, Edoardo, is an award-winning war correspondent in the throes of the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. Viewers join Camille and her father on a trip down memory lane, hoping to bring back the past and discover who the “Camille” in his recurring memory truly is.

“I wrote Finding Camille as I was interested in telling a story that looked at the theme of memory and identity and what it means to know oneself,” says Bindu.

Edoardo was an absent father throughout Camille’s life, as he worked as a war correspondent and was away for many months at a time. Camille has a mythological idea of who her father was and is. As their road trip and Edoardo’s illness progresses, she realizes that perhaps he is not the hero she has always wanted him to be but is fallible, at times not a very nice or reliable person, but also a more real, rounded, heartfelt human being.

“I wanted to take a look at the family dynamics when someone is ill with Alzheimer’s and how that effects the family and carers in different ways,” Bindu says. For example, in the film Ugo (Camille’s older brother) is pragmatic and incapable of dealing with the illness first hand, wanting “the professionals” to look after his father.

“This is in contrast to Camille, who is sacrificing her own life on every level in order to care and be dutiful towards her father. What is right? Who is wrong? There is no clear answer and I wanted to play with this theme, leaving the audience to make up their own minds about what they would do in such a circumstance,” says Bindu, who  herself has experience of looking after an ill parent first-hand and knows the struggles and challenges this can bring.

Exploring Alzheimer’s and highlighting carers’ sacrifices

Finding Camille poster

Finding Camille’s road trip

Bindu’s research for creating the film included reading a variety of books on Alzheimer’s and meeting with various Alzheimer’s groups, where she interviewed and spoke to people with the disease as well as the carers who look after them.

“A lot of the carers are themselves often unacknowledged and exhausted and this is the reason I wanted the story to be about Camille – her point of view and the sacrifices she has made for a sick parent.

“I also felt it was important to have a female protagonist, someone I could relate
to. Someone women could relate to,” Bindu continues. “Too few women are represented in movies in a way that is tangible, attainable, realistic and in a leading role.”

Techniques and inspiration

Bindu and her team decided to shoot the movie in low contrast, to convey and mimic in the visuals the fading of Edoardo’s memory. Drawing inspiration from films such as Wild, The Virgin Suicides, and My Summer of Love, Finding Camille was shot with as much natural light as was available and possible.

“I wanted to create a ‘mistiness’ within the film, using greens, blues and lilacs, and keeping tones as muted and faded, to add to the Alzheimer’s theme. We worked this look into the sets with the production designer as well as the costumes, so that everything looked and felt old, faded, dusty and used,” Bindu says.

“It isn’t all doom and gloom though,” Bindu assures us. “I wanted to depict these problems lightly, with humour and throughout Finding Camille we touch upon heartbreaking things in a way that, if taken the right way, will also make you laugh through the tears.”

bindu de stoppani

Bindu de Stoppani

See Finding Camille this Saturday

You can meet Bindu De Stoppani at the screening of Finding Camille at the Electric Palace cinema on Saturday 22 September at 8pm. She’ll be taking part in a post-film discussion about her film-making experiences – which includes acting parts in The Beach and 28 Days Later, making a short film and starring alongside Michael Fassbender, plus receiving British Independent Film Awards accolades for her film Jump, which won Best Director and Best Feature Film in 2012.


Posted 15:58 Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018 In: Film

1 Comment

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  1. Zelly Restorick

    Went to see this film this evening – twas truly beautiful. From start to finish. Sensitive, sincere, thought-provoking, funny, tear-inducing; great direction, acting, lighting, script (also written by Bindu). Will investigate Jump, Bindu’s earlier film. Congratulations to all involved in creating such a heart-touching and memorable film.

    I also enjoyed listening to Bindu talk about her inspiration for the film, how she feels that we, the people, can also suffer from a certain memory loss when it comes to certain times in history or our present global situation, how we might want to block out certain things. And to also hear how important collaboration was – to make the film what it is today. And the challenges of a female director.

    Thank you, Bindu and everyone involved. Fabulous cinema.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Saturday, Sep 22, 2018 @ 23:07

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