THE POWER OF CINEMA

     Although I never usually write any personal content on social media, I felt compelled to share a moment which occurred this past weekend. Sunday we had a screening for “Anna”, the short documentary I did on my Godmother who is at her late stages of Alzheimer’s. This film was not about the disease, instead it is about seeing the disease through Anna’s eyes. Rather than try to get the story you want from a documentary, it’s better to let that story be given. I guess you could say the director becomes “Life”. This has been my philosophy with such films as “Tiger” and “Anna”. Perhaps this is why I sometimes feel more like a conduit, and less like a filmmaker.

So the day of the screening for “Anna”, a car rolled up to the theater. Inside the front seat was Anna. Her eyes gazed out the window, as if her mind was in another time and place. Anna’s eyes glanced over to me. A soft and gentle smile warmed her face as if to let me know she was still here. In Anna’s hand was a single flower. Pat, Anna’s husband for over 60 years, carefully took Anna out of the car and placed her into a wheelchair. There were only a few people inside the theater as we entered. Anna, Pat, family and friends took the front row area. As we waited for the film to start, Anna did not speak to much. She held onto her flower with hardly a blink of the eye. The Alzheimer’s has now made her immobile and somewhat catatonic. I took a seat next to Anna and placed my arm around her. This film was for her, and I wanted to be right next to her, at this moment. I had no intent to really watch the film, rather, I wanted to observe Anna as she watched her movie. Being that this was going to be her first and last time she would see her movie, I wasn’t sure it would mean anything. And yet, Anna was the only person I wanted to share this moment with.

The lights went down, the room went black, and beacon of light began to illuminate in the distance. The light grew large and wide until projected before our eyes was Anna. She was larger than life. As Anna’s film began, I watched her eyes open wide, and her mouth gape open. As if some sort of Out-of-Body Experience, Anna began watch and hear about her life. Without judgement a familiar, loving voice spoke of what a remarkable woman Anna was, and all the good she did in life and for her family. As the movie played I held onto Anna, and she held onto her flower. I could tell by the expression on her face that this movie-going experience was impacting her soul. As a filmmaker one can get caught up into what famous actor is attached to your project, if your film is cool enough to be selected for some staff pick, if what you put out there will go viral, or if it is worthy enough for some prestigious award. But in a small theater, this little film was having a huge impact on Anna. Regardless if it’s to make laugh, cry, challenge or re-think, if a film can affect one person, the blood, sweat and tears you sacrificed is all worth it. The film now has purpose.

Anna’s film began to come to a close. Projected upon the screen was a moment with Anna, caressing a large picture of her mother, hoping that they will meet again one day. As this moment played out on screen, Anna, with her flower in hand, cried out in the theater “That’s My Mother! That’s My Mother!”. Tears filled her eyes as she connected with her mother once again. And it was at this moment I truly understood The Power of Cinema.

 

 

76 Comments
  1. Congratulations Mr. Director. So proud of you, awesome. :), Ones own work is priceless, only he or she can make a judgement. It’s coming from pure passion, from divine, from the Universe and passed trough the Universe, for itself to be shared.

  2. Awesome interview!!! Very proud! Wish you had been on the flight with my kids though lol 😉

  3. haven’t seen the film yet eric but thank you from my whole family on loving my grandmother they way we always will.

  4. Eric you truly are such a talented, kind and loving person. It shines through your work. Congratulations.

  5. I want to personally thank the talented Jerry Goldsmith for his wonderful music! Bravo, Jerry!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing with me, and I share your story with my world. Everyone must know, Eric Latek, Letitia Latek, & Jake’s Latek their love within for the world. Such a special way you all spread your love by telling people their life story trough your camera lenses. In this story, after reading the article twice, I realize where parts of your harmony came from, for all the people you encounter. Blessings & Namashkaram, Mr. Director. You will be one of Hollywood’s best ever.!!!

  7. That was a truly touching thing to read this morning cuz .. give my love to Pat and the family and much love you you and yours!

  8. You are truly one of the kindest and loving person I know and have true compassion and love for others! Xo

  9. Great read! I proud of you Brother. You just started my morning with a little more light…

  10. Okay, in tears as this is truly what film making is truly all about! My dear friend you have touched more than just one person!!! <3 Congrats!!!

  11. Your story telling never ceases to amaze me, nor are your acts of love that you give of your self in each and every project. You have a brilliant mind. . And big heart… the possibilitys are endless for you, you are a great creator..of story telling of many paths in people’s lives, thank you for sharing this Eric it lifted my soul. .. and you know I appreciate your art at work. Xxoo
    Thankyou.

  12. Will share this with my students. This is what makes you an amazing filmmaker. You never try and impress anyone. You just tell stories.

  13. Absolutely amazing. Very few could put words to such a spiritual moment. You did, so eloquently and from the heart.

  14. Eric Latek, what a blessing you are to those that know you, and what a gem you are to your passion and industry. Well done, my old friend.

  15. What a beautiful story about a beautiful lady that I was proud to know and love. I am very proud of you my wonderful nephew Eric.. Love Aunt Betty

  16. Incredibly moving and touching story. Congratulations and thanks for sharing this

  17. Eric, there is nothing that makes me more proud than being your friend and be the sound of your visions… for real!! 🙂
    Mauro

  18. Truly beautiful I am so thankful that you have told annas story you are truly talented

  19. Asirvada Anna reaching Nirvana. अन्ना को आशीर्वाद निर्वाण Ommmmmm तक पहुँचने

  20. My mother has Alzheimer’s. This was a beautiful way to honor Anna. Very nice.

  21. What a wonderful thing to do that can be passed down for generations great job

  22. Brilliant! 🙂
    Hmm…I think, im having signs of it.. there r some events or moments in my life that I cant remmber anymore 🙁

  23. You did a wonderful thing when you made this film about Anna. It is sad that we have the disease in our own family.

  24. Thank you Aunty Betty Brown!!! This disease certainly has not been nice to our family, thats for sure. Love you!

  25. Rose Rita Henderson Thank you so much! As far as signs, I myself, have a seriously bad short term memory. I find supplementing my vitamin with Omega-3, B-Vitamins and Pure protein, des seem to help my daily well being. Not a cure of course, but what we put into our body is rather crucial for mental support.

  26. Oh…really? Ok..il try finding those suplemnts 🙂 thank u so much Eric 🙂 it wil b a big help 🙂 by the way, I have watched ur 2nd trailer of TIGER.. that`s really a great one, for sure.. #Touched

  27. Rose Rita Henderson Thank you so much!!! That really means so much! Its been so much blood, sweat and tears with myself and the Balletto family. We are looking for an amazing outcome to this story. We just have to be patient. Thank you so much!

  28. eric you always amaze our family i watched the movie for the bemillionth time the other day brings more joy evrytime to remember my gramma

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