I have always been obsessed with and scared of memory loss. Will I have someone to take care of me when I am old and grey? Will I remember anecdotes of my travels and adventures, my lovers and my loved ones? Memory loss means falling into a bottomless black hole, from which we have to construct a fantasy version of our life. Floride is about just that; living in a fairytale while our mind continues to fall apart, more and more each day.
Floride, directed by Philippe Le Guay and starring the extraordinary Jean Rochefort, tells the story of Claude, an 81-year-old man living in a fantasy world. It initially seems as if Claude is in good health, and pretending to suffer from dementia so as to bother those around him. But we soon start to see the ugly truth; Claude’s mind is not working and his memories are gone. The pensioner is obsessed with the state of Florida: he only wants to drink Florida orange juice and he always talks about his younger daughter (who we never meet), as he believes she lives there.
Claude constantly insults his oldest daughter and carer, Carol, and refuses to accept any of the help she offers him. Carol knows that she is losing her father, but desperately tries to make things easy for him. Despite his moments of aggression, Claude charms us, enabling us to feel his pain, anger and suffering.
This is a film about our own mortality, old age, love and family, about the frustration of losing what and who we love. This film emphasises the fact that life is short and that the moments we live today can disappear from our memory in a split second. Floride is a great movie for soul searching and reflection – moving, powerful and personal.
By Carolina Morales