Title: Bicycle, Spoon, Apple.
Original title: Bicicleta, cullera, poma.
Other titles: Bicicleta, cuchara, manzana (Spanish).
Director: Carles Bosch.
Music: Josep Sanou.
Photography: Carles Mestres.
Film editor: Ernest Blasi and Carlos Prieto.
Screenwiter: Carles Bosch.
Cast: Diana Garrigosa, Airy Maragall, Cristina Maragall, Ernest Maragall, Guim Maragall, Pasqual Maragall, Queco Novell and Toni Soler.
Runtime: 110 minutes.
Original Language: Catalan, Spanish, English, Telugu, Kannada and Dutch. The Spanish version has subtitles.
Production Companies: Cromosoma TV produccions, Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) and Televisión Española (TVE).
Synopsis: In October, 2007, Pasqual Maragall was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Once past the initial blow, he and his family embarked on a crusade against the disease. And from the very first step, this film has grown into an extraordinary testament. With intelligence, sincerity and an infectious spirit, Maragall allows a portrait to be painted of not only himself, but also his family and his doctors, in order to leave behind a lasting document of his personal fight.
Two years of following an exceptional patient, one who is hoping scientists find a cure before the number of 26 million sufferers of this disease is multiplied by ten. A tough film, but an optimistic one all the same.
Awards: Goya Award for Best Documentary (2011).
It was presented on 19 September, 2010 at the 58th San Sebastian Film Festival, out of competition, and on 13 February 2011 it won a Goya Award for Best Documentary Film.
Pasqual Maragall was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in autumn, 2007. The film shows how his wife, Diana Garrigosa, was at first unable to conceive that what her husband suffered from was Alzheimer’s, believing his absentmindedness and slight memory losses were probably due to stress. Likewise, his daughters and son and those close to him were of the same mind: his bodyguard - to whom he is linked by a friendship that goes beyond their employment relationship -, his secretaries and professional assistants, who could not believe what they were hearing, since most of them did not become aware of the situation until Maragall made it public, although they had indeed noticed certain changes in his usual behaviour.
The honesty and spontaneity of his wife and children when it comes to expressing their feelings and fears is moving.
Since the diagnosis was established, Maragall and his family engaged in a fight against the disease, believing that the best way to reach the general public was by filming a documentary, whose direction was entrusted to Carles Bosch.
The first question the protagonist was asked was: What do you want this film to be like?, to which he answered: fun. And that is how the subject is approached, with cheerfulness, sincerity and intelligence.
The way the title is presented, in small broken letters, is probably a reference to the pieces that make up his mind, which are disappearing on a daily basis.
Carles Bosch became Pasqual Maragall’s shadow and spent two years filming the patient’s life and that of his family, doctors and social environment in order to record his personal day-to-day struggle, his visits to the doctor and his eagerness to establish a Foundation to approach the problems posed by a disease that affects more and more people in present-day society.
When Maragall made public the fact that he was not going to stay at home as if he had been defeated, he was already taking a step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Pasqual Maragall and his family teach us a gripping lesson of courage. The intermingled didactic comments sometimes slightly interrupt the flow of the story.
The film reflects the importance of music for Maragall, who constantly turns to it for refuge. In the film, his wife explains that musical awareness is one of the last to become lost and that it is for this reason that Pasqual is much better.
Practically all the interviews are filmed in the same place: a very modest set, with the same lighting and background, which engages attention in the sincere dialogues and in the spontaneity of those who are interviewed.
The Pasqual Maragall Foundation for research on Alzheimer’s disease was set up in 2008, following Maragall’s compromise when he publicly declared: “I want to help to beat this disease, personally and collectively”.
The Foundation is managed by Dr Jordi Cami, Chair of the Pompeu Fabra University, and it is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and support biomedical research in the field of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
This documentary is recommended for everyone, since research is on a par in every country, and it reflects how in the different places where it is filmed, the tests and the personal and social conflicts are similar.
“That the disease is invincible is not written anywhere” (Pasqual Maragall).
María Isabel Mateos González
Servicio de Microbiología. Hospital Universitario de Salamanca (Spain).
Correspondencia: María Isabel Mateos González. Servicio de Microbiología. Hospital Universitario de Salamanca. Paseo de San Vicente s/n. 37007 Salamanca (Spain).
Received 22 February 2011.