POV: Wisdom Gone Wild
Premieres Monday, Nov.20, 2023 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS App
A vibrant tender cine-poem, a filmmaker collaborates with her Nisei mother as they confront the painful curious reality of wisdom ‘gone wild’ in the shadows of dementia. Made over 16 years, the film blends humor and sadness in an encounter between mother and daughter that blooms into an affectionate portrait of love, care, and a relationship transformed.
At 93, Rose Tajiri is a history keeper and a chronicler of Japanese American experience. Diagnosed with dementia at the age of 76, Rose’s non-chronological access to key historical events is cued through daily encounters and reminiscences. Embarking on a fifteen-year odyssey, Rea gains wisdom by listening to the metaphors in her mother’s conversations.
Rose’s allegories reveal her incarceration in a World War II concentration camp and a childhood as the daughter of Nikkei farmers in California’s strawberry fields. These stories help caregivers understand Rose’s needs and revise their care. Rea learns to identify Rose’s hopes and fears as they create a unique relationship based on play, improvisation and humor. The two travel together towards the end of life, each transformed by a journey through memory and the mind.
“With this film, I draw audiences to the possibilities of connection and intimacy with loved ones who live with dementia,” said director Rea Tajiri. “Through a portrayal of intimacy, I wish to normalize witnessing and listening to elders; to value their stories, their wisdom and their lived experience.”
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In addition to closed captioning for all films, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.
Credits: Produced in association with Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). The film is directed by Rea Tajiri and produced by Sian Evans and Tajiri. The executive producers are Stephen Gong, Center for Asian American Media and Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary | POV.