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I Cannot Tell You How I Feel

A film by Su Friedrich

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Su Friedrich has taken up the camera again in her ongoing quest to film the battleground of family life. Her mother Lore—who played the lead in The Ties That Bind (1984), a film about her experiences growing up in Germany during the Second World War—plays the lead again, this time kicking and protesting against being moved at the age of 94 from her home in Chicago.

Su and her two siblings fill out the supporting roles, cajoling, comforting, and freaking out, but they cannot deny that their mother is no longer able to care for herself. Lore has severe memory loss and is convinced that her doorman has been robbing her. She often asks Su the same question repeatedly and cannot remember what she ate for breakfast. In an effort for Su and her siblings to be closer to her, they move her from her home of 50 years to an “independent living” facility in Long Island, New York.

I Cannot Tell You How I Feel is heartfelt examination of growing old in today’s society, and the responsibility of adult children to their parents.

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"By candidly confronting personal struggles, Friedrich’s films invite reflections on broader, often universal concerns. This is again the case with her latest, I Cannot Tell You How I Feel, which offers a moving, tragic, frequently funny, and profoundly empathetic consideration of mortality and filial responsibility."Giovanni Marchini Camia, Fandor

"There’s been a recent, very interesting micro-trend among female experimental filmmakers. In the past few years, we’ve seen films by Chantal Akerman (No Home Movie) and Beth B (Call Her Applebroog) that see each filmmaker dealing with her relationship with her aging mother, and how her mother’s past reflects upon the director’s present. Su Friedrich’s I Cannot Tell You How I Feel is a thoughtful, richly felt addition to the genre."Dana Reinoos, Screen Slate

"I can tell you how I feel about I Cannot Tell You How I Feel: it is aesthetically unpretentious, ethically adult, and carefully crafted — and precisely as long as it should be. Its candidness about dealing with aging relatives is an engaging antidote to the usual myths, cartoons, and melodramas about aging so common in movies and on television. As participant director and narrator (in both voice-over and visual text), Friedrich is by turns wryly good-humored, self-involved and self-aware, pained, frustrated, and compassionate. For those who remember The Ties That Bind (1984), Friedrich’s breakthrough film about her mother growing up as an anti-Nazi German in the 1930s and 1940s, watching the feisty Lore Friedrich deal with moving to the strange new world of assisted living has particular poignancy." —Scott MacDonald, author of 'Avant-Doc: Intersections of Documentary and Avant-Garde Cinema'

World Premiere, Viennale Film Festival, Austria
USA Premiere, BAMcinematek
FrauenFilmFestival Dortmund, Germany
Union Docs, Brooklyn

42 minutes / Color
Release: 2018
Copyright: 2016

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Aging, Family Relations, Women's Studies

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