Dementia, a diagnosis that changes everything for those who are affected and for their relatives. Accepting the disease can seem just as difficult as finding an appropriate approach. But perhaps it is much more about compassion than about understanding? In an observational way, THE INNER LIGHT explores the everyday lives of people with dementia and focuses mainly on positive situations and encounters.
Free of past and future, there is a possibility to live in the moment. The film dedicates itself to these kinds of moments. Alongside its protagonists, we discover the slowness, the struggle and the beauty of the rituals of their everyday lives. Without commenting, the film shows pure emotions of sadness, cheerfulness and thoughtfulness.
THE INNER LIGHT builds up strong emotional ties with the protagonists and attempts to make their view on the world tangible, but does not avoid conflicts and the seriousness of the illness. The film tries to offer a poetic interpretation of this special state of being and aims at reducing fears in dealing with people with dementia and at accepting each person’s humanity.
"For outsiders, it can be difficult to understand why people with dementia behave the way they do. Each encounter was a challenge to engage with other person and to acknowledge and accept their reality of life. When I entered the care facility for the very first time, a world opened up before me that I could not escape. One resident took me by the hand immediately, and dragged me through the corridors. I didn’t understand what he wanted to tell me. I only saw two possibilities: Either to stay and let myself explore this wondrous world or to leave this place as soon as possible. I decided to stay.
To me, it feels as if people with dementia lose the protective layer, that each of us developed during our lives, and so their personality emerges unfiltered. For me as a counterpart this was often very challenging. But if I manage to let down my protective shield too, a real encounter, free of future and past can emerge, in which only the moment counts. This experience is a great enrichment for my own everyday life and for the contact with my fellow human beings.
One of my main fascinations with the residents of the nursing home was the fact that I felt I could look into their souls a little bit and feel their “inner light” . "