“The Father” by Anthony Hopkins

Anyone who has seen their father grow up knows that the process involves grace and wisdom on some occasions, but that on all occasions, without exception, it contains a poisonous capsule of pain. And if to that damned relentless time we add the dementia that some very old people suffer, we are already talking about a torment like few others.

If only that involved help for heavy or complex tasks, if at least it were continuous desk examinations and a row of palliative drugs, it would be bearable. But the dementia that has attacked some people in recent years ruthlessly destroys the brain, which controls everything, and takes them from the possibility of recognizing the people who have always surrounded them to knowing with certainty who they are even though they are look in the mirror. And the same happens with the temporal and spatial location. The call Senile dementia — the DSM V develops the theme much more broadly than that familiar term, but for the case it works — it is being and being but without awareness of what is and what is. And yet it is not a death threat. It is even worse. It is a hopelessly dead-end labyrinth for those who suffer from it and for those who appreciate the person who once was and who is ceasing to be.

On all tapes of Anthony Hopkins, king of kings, could be appreciated who was going to be Hannibal Lecter —All laser intelligence, capabilities to build worlds or destroy them at will— and in which he later filmed it was very difficult not to see that behind any of his characters the bastard Lecter was smiling as if saying “here I am, keep your distance”. But in “The father”, by the still young playwright and first-time film director Florian Zeller, the admired Hannibal is no longer there – yes, malevolence also when it comes from an intellect as distilled as that character’s deserves recognition – he is completely gone. And it is not because the plot speaks just of ceasing to be who he has been, but because Hopkins managed to become entirely another person and reflect that dull, cloudy and necessarily stoic pain that involves remembering only fragments of his own existence but without being able give them continuity. The character of “The father” is known to be alive and active, but he can never specify where he lives, or what moment he is going through, or why sometimes he seems to have lived some scenes, only with some variants almost always unpleasant.

Took the Oscar for that performance, as he had already obtained by being Dr. Lecter, and he undoubtedly deserved it: all the pains that dementia implies in old age he had to reflect only with the expressions of the face and the movement of the hands. The author of the original work wrote it for a closed space, the theater, and except for some modifications, the film takes place in a room and a small dining room where all the load of the plot must go through gestures, voice and body language Hopkins.

Going to “The Father” generates pain to a great extent, and also admiration for the impeccable work of the teacher, now 83 years old. And it is comforting to know that although the condition is real and is everywhere, Mr. Hopkins enjoys life and manifests it in Twitter —Where he gives priceless lessons just about it— and that he celebrated the award by dancing with Salma Hayek, that nothing more than being and being is enough to forget, with all intention, the pains of the world.

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“The Father” by Anthony Hopkins