…And I Was Left Behind
Maysaa Almumin, Kuwait, Qatar 2021
A grandmother’s stories of travel as loss and longing for loved ones are redefined during a period of isolation. As the filmmaker re-enacts her childhood moments, she becomes both her grandmother sewing dresses, and her child self watching. Thinking back to the old songs that speak of her displacement, the filmmaker dreams of moments when she can travel to the ones she loves, and her grandmother’s words bring meaning to her feelings of absence and melancholy, her saudade.
As a 4-year-old, Michael was diagnosed with cancer and five years followed with chemotherapy, frequent isolation and the fear of dying. It changed the Graversens’ family pattern forever. Years later he travels unannounced to his childhood home, and is met by a new version of his father. Free from years of substance abuse, Svend-Aage is suddenly full of energy. He’s eager to talk about his glory days as a clothing salesman, and he is determined to win back the love of his wife, Astrid. But over the years, she has found comfort in her dog Lexus, and finds it hard to let her husband back into her life. As the family home is put up for sale, years of memories are packed into boxes, and a dark chapter re-emerges.
Michael does not hide the truth behind the movie. He wants to heal his relationship with his dad, whom he has missed ever since falling ill. As for Astrid, she needs to get rid of boxes that are full of memories, which she wants to hold on to. Svend-Aage sees an opportunity to repair some losses of the past and ends up planning the couple’s wedding anniversary. He buys a copy of Astrid’s bridal bouquet and plans activities that she likes. Everything culminates with a visit to the church.
Marita Nyrhinen (translated by Vilma-Lotta Mustonen)
Mr. Graversen is also available online throughout the festival!