Wisdom Gone Wild

A new look at dementia and caregiving, observed over 15 years. A Japanese American mother and daughter evolve their troubled relationship through the process of Show more caregiving. Show less

Wisdomgonewi final pubstill
Funding Initiative
Diversity Development Fund
Producer

Rea Tajiri

Rea Tajiri's films straddle documentary and art genres, finding new ways of storytelling that embrace the murky spaces of memory, history, and public consciousness. Strawberry Fields screened at the Venice Film Festival, winning the Grand Prix/Fukuoka Asian Film Festival. History and Memory premiered at the Whitney Biennial and won IDA’s Show more Distinguished Achievement Award. Rea is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts/2015. Show less

We fund untold stories for public media.

Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

The Film

Wisdom Gone Wild humanizes dementia and presents a daughter’s evolution towards compassionate caregiving. At 93, Rose Tajiri is a time traveler, a history keeper and a chronicler of Japanese American experience. Diagnosed with dementia at the age of 76, Rose’s non-chronological access to key historical events is cued through daily encounters and reminiscences. Her daughter, Rea, has reluctantly become her caregiver despite their difficult past.

Embarking on a fifteen-year odyssey, Rea gains wisdom through listening to the metaphors in her mother’s conversations. She interprets Rose’s stories to reveal her incarceration in a World War II concentration camp and a childhood as the daughter of sharecroppers in California’s strawberry fields. The new meanings help caregivers understand Rose’s needs and revise their care. Rea learns to identify Rose’s hopes and fears as they create a unique relationship based on play, improvisation and humor. The two travel together towards end of life, each transformed by a journey through memory and the mind.

Topics