Aphasia (Short Film) ★★★★★ TIFF 2023

Aphasia (Short Film) ★★★★★ TIFF 2023

Marielle Dalpé disorientates and unsettles in her visually violent film Aphasia. While under 4 minutes in length, there is a power here that fully immerses and pains you, a fantastic and vital animation.

Aphasia is an unsettling sensory experience that immerses us in the world of people with Alzheimer’s disease who are facing the loss of their language capabilities.

Aphasia is the type of film that purposefully gets under your skin. It wants to push you into uncharted waters about how you see Alzheimer’s and people who suffer from it. We have seen plenty of films of people suffering from this cruel disease. but nothing like this. The way Marielle Dalpé shakes you into realising what it is like in a sufferer’s mind is magnificent. Beautifully splattered animation leaves you almost breathless; text fills the screen in a variance of layers that overwhelm you. We are placed brilliantly into the shoes of someone with the condition so that despite the chaos, we are always with the woman sitting alone, helpless.

For 3 minutes and 45 seconds, we are just thrown into the world of someone with a neurocognitive condition. We are reminded that these are people not losing their intelligence, but their ability to convey what they are thinking verbally or even to have a simple conversation has been snatched from them. In these few minutes, we are filled with empathy for those who suffer from the disease.

By design, though, Aphasia wants to hit you like a slap in the face, to leave you in no uncertain terms about what this disease does mercilessly to those it inflicts. What is done so well in Aphasia is that it reminds us how the person suffering from Alzheimer’s is fully aware of their continual loss of the language they once had, their frustrating decline in being to be them. So, as the film begins slowly with the person saying these words, by the film’send, they are rushed. The anxiety has taken hold, showing us the hopelessness that a sufferer must always feel.

This overload of our senses in audio and visual sense via the multi-layered animations wreaks havoc on you. Beautifully splattered animation is mixed with violence that we do not usually see in such films about Alzheimer’s. They are typically filled with more poignancy and gentleness. Dalpé negates this more aggressive approach to make you stand up and pay attention to what she is showing. This is an aggressive disease, so showing us that aggression in a visual medium allows us to understand the emotional battering those with the condition are experiencing. As necessary, a film as they come.


For more coverage of TIFF 2023 please check out our reviews below:



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