When I started a documentary about aphasia, the social reasons for investing so much time and effort into it were very clear: this is a topic that seriously matters to an immense amount of people in the World (1 out of 250 people in the U.S.) and there are no major documentaries about it. Plus, there is an urgent need of talking about aphasia because lack of awareness -and no media coverage- is the main reason of the shortage of funding and research.
But I wanted to do a film from a personal approach rather than a scientific one, because I feel that society needs to understand aphasia from a human point of view, first of all. However, this film is not meant to be only a story about aphasia, but a story about human relationships and about the social consequences of the loss of communications.
There were also important artistic reasons when I started this project. Mainly, the fact that cinema is a very appropriated channel to express the lack of words, in my opinion. If we ask the aphasiacs, they will have problems with language (writing, reading, speaking, understanding), but it's not the same with images. They are able to "read" images, and very often they develop a higher sensibility for them. For example, during my work I realized that patients usually acquire a certain ability to better read the facial expressions (since language for them is not as useful to communicate as before).
I have arrived to the conclusion that cinema is the best artist expression to picture aphasia. I have searched inspiration in different examples coming from other art disciplines, but I feel that cinema opens a new landscape of possibilities that have not been explored.
I also wanted to use the lack of speech as a cinematographic element, by filming the moments when the characters cannot find the words when they are most needed, or by using a mirror in the background of the interviews to express the barrier that separates the aphasia victims from the rest of the world.
Finally, the main reason for me and my team to pursue this project, has become the strength and courage showed by our three characters during the process of this film. It may not be clear if they win or loose in their own struggle with communication, if they have been able or not to regain their lives and happiness, but it's in their fighting when they find their dignity -and us our best film portrait.
Guillermo F. Flórez, director.