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 caregiving.

Wisdom Gone Wild
Premiere Date
November 20, 2023
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Diversity Development Fund

Rea Tajiri

Rea Tajiri's films find 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 Distinguished Achievement Award. 

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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.