“An affecting, lyrical documentary… More than just a personal memoir, the film aspires to poetry.” — The Boston Globe
The Genius of Marian is a visually rich, emotionally complex story about one family’s struggle to come to terms with Alzheimer’s disease. After Pam White is diagnosed at age 61 with early-onset Alzheimer’s, life begins to change, slowly but irrevocably, for Pam and everyone around her. Her husband grapples with his role as it evolves from primary partner to primary caregiver. Pam’s adult children find ways to show their love and support while mourning the gradual loss of their mother. Her eldest son, Banker, records their conversations, allowing Pam to share memories of childhood and of her mother, the renowned painter Marian Williams Steele, who had Alzheimer’s herself and died in 2001.
Visit the POV companion site for The Genius of Marian to watch the full film online for free for a limited time following the broadcast (starting September 9, 2014), learn from the filmmakers in an extended video interview, find out what’s happened since the cameras stopped rolling and download a discussion guide and other viewing resources.
Then, on Tuesday, September 9, from 1-2 PM ET (10-11 AM PT), ask the filmmaker and family members from The Genius of Marian, along with Dr. Bruce Miller of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and Alzheimer’s Association’s Susan Rowlett, about their experience and the new challenges of caregiving in America. RSVP for the chat, submit your questions or listen in on the conversation on Google+.
Share your thoughts and ask questions by using the hashtag #TheGeniusOfMarian.
“On the surface,” says Banker White in a filmmaker’s statement, “the film is about my family’s effort to come to terms with the changes Alzheimer’s disease brings. But it is also a meditation on the meaning of family, the power of art and the beautiful and painful ways we cope with illness and loss… I’ve shared warmth and intimacy in conversations with my mother, laid bare our family’s challenges in caring for her and allowed myself to feel the silence that increasingly fills my parents’ house.”
The Genius of Marian premieres Monday, September 8, 2014, at 10 PM on PBS stations. (Check local listings.)
For more updates from POV’s 2014 season, subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs.