An animated short about a teenager losing her mother to dementia, Cíor Thuathail explores how reality feels surreal to Jules Madden due to her mother’s chaotic behaviour since she was diagonosed with Alzheimer’s. Brought to you by Sciob Sceab in association with an Lab – the Centre for the Irish-language Arts in Dingle – Cíor Thuathail is voiced by native speakers from the Corca Dhuibhne area and animated by Gobstar Film.
Cíor Thuathail will show at film festivals from early 2018 in both standard cinema format and a VR version. Yes! You heard right! Cíor Thuathail looks set to be the first ever VR film in the Irish language!
After completing its film festival run, Cíor Thuathail will be sold in a “learning edition” to secondary schools. Cíor Thuathail – The Learning Edition bundles the animation with a booklet that teases out its allusions to Alice in Wonderland and Alzheimer’s disease.
Intrigued? Read on to find out more about Cíor Thuathail plotwise.
Cíor Thuathail story summary
Her life turned topsy-turvy since her mother Máire fell sick with Alzheimer’s, Jules’ daily routine would remind you of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Certainly Jules can relate to Alice’s predicament in needing to keep a poker face when she comes across the Queen of Hearts playing croquet with a flamingo for a mallet and a hedgehog for a ball.
Likewise it is nothing extraordinary for Jules to find the phone book in washing machine or shoes in the fridge, or pencils planted like seedlings in a pot of fresh compost.
And like Alice walking on eggshells to avoid setting off one of the Queen of Heart’s spectacular tantrums, Jules has had to school herself into not batting an eyelid at the strange things her mother does. Because confronting Máire with the weirdness of her own behaviour only makes her the more agitated and a doubly agitated Máire is twice as hard to deal with.
The trouble with this approach, however, is that the more Jules plays along with her mother’s fantasies to keep her quiet — agreeing with her that black is white and up is down —the more Máire’s topsy-turvy world sucks her in, until Jules feels like she’s the one losing her grip on reality.
And so, fighting to keep her mother at home when everyone is telling her to let go — it’s time, Jules, she belongs in a nursing home — Jules faces a hard choice in Cíor Thuathail. Can she live with the guilt of letting go? Or, should she hang ’till the bitter end and risk getting dragged under by all the stress?
Follow Jules down the rabbit hole on a journey that is at once fantastic and heartbreakingly real.