The Camden International Film Festival


There are more than leaves to peep at if you're in Maine this weekend. The Camden International Film Festival, now in its seventh year,  might not be the biggest such event in the region, but it certainly is one of the most focused, best programmed, and most provocative, dedicated as it is to the art of documentary, certainly one of the most influential and vital genres today.

Among the films screening tomorrow is  Scott Kirschenbaum's "You're Looking At Me Like I Live Here And I Don't." The title is a comment that Lee Gorewitz, a patient at a very pleasant California Alzheimer's facility, makes to one of the stuffed animals she refers to her as her babies. Kirschenbaum's camera follows Lee like her bewildered consciousness, a sounding board for her observations about her condition and situation: deprived of memory, unable to speak except in broken fragments of disparate conversations, but still showing the ghost of the wit, mirth, and pugnacity that she once possessed. "I've never been like this in my life," she says, with a trace of wonder.  It's not a depressing or pitiful portrait, but it is sometimes terrifying, as when Lee fumbles for a word and says, "I've lost how to find it." Or when she looks at a family picture and, asked where she is in the photography, replies, "I am not." It's wrenching, sometimes funny,  and profound. As with most of the movies at CIFF, the director will be at the screening for a discussion.

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