And Who Are You?



San Sebastian International Film Festival

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- Tackling the uneasy topic of Alzheimer's in "And Who Are You?," Spanish director Antonio Mercero's chooses to approach this with cutesy affection and humor to lighten the load. This movie could work in Spanish-speaking markets, but may seem too overly sentimental to audiences elsewhere.

"And Who Are You?" tells the story of grandfather Ricardo (Manuel Alexandre), who is not included in a family holiday because he is forgetful. Instead is sent to a rest home, where a doctor diagnoses Alzheimer's Disease. His granddaughter Ana (Cristina Brondo) decides to give up three years of law studies to care for Ricardo and in the process strikes up a romance with the handsome doctor (Monti Castineira).

The closeness of family life in Spain makes the grandfather a much-loved figure. So packing him off to a rest home seems drastic. Mercero plays on this for dramatic pathos, but before the movie becomes a tearjerker, the joker Andres (Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez) is introduced to bring in a few laughs. His collection of condoms and propensity for light farts are pure slapstick.

Throughout Mercero juggles laughs with the dark reality of a man losing his faculties. One minute Ricardo is lost in the city, has wet himself and does not know his own name. The next he is singing in a bar and everyone's laughing. So the question arises: Is Mercero trying to raise our awareness of Alzheimer's or simply exploiting the disease to make a sentimental film?

A Mono Films/Irusoin/Buena Vista International co-production
Director: Antonio Mercero
Writer: Antonio Mercero
Producer: Menendez de Zubillaga
Director of photography: Gonzalo Berridi
Music: Manuel Villata
Editor: Jose Maria Biurrun
Ricardo: Manuel Alexandre
Andres: Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez
Ana: Cristina Brondo
Padre: Alvaro de Luna, Doctor: Monti Castineira
Nurse: Amparo Moreno
Mother: Angeles Macua
Running time -- 90 minutes
No MPAA rating