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Friday, October 12, 2012

FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED

By D.E.Levine

A NYFF50 Premiere

Director Alan Berliner examines his cousin poet/translator Edwin Honig's struggle with Alzheimer Disease.  An HBO production, the film will make it's TV debut in 2013.  It has already won the top prize at Amsterdam's IDFA documentary festival.

Begun when  Honig was in his prime and enjoying international acclaim, we watch as his mind clouds and he becomes forgetful, his speech becomes jumbled and he fades into a non-verbal individual with only brief spells of lucidity.

Edwin's sister Lila speaks out in protest against her brother being shown in such a compromised state.  But,Edwin gave his consent before the later onset of the disease and Berliner approaches the subject without sentimentality.

The directness and objectiveness of his approach makes watching such a difficult subject bearable.