FESTIVALS: * Seattle International Film Festival * Docs Barcelona * Cartagena * San Sebastian Film Festival
AWARDS: * Goya - Best Documentary * Gaudí Prize - Best Documentary
Bicycle, Spoon, Apple
Health, Human Interest, Science
Running time |
58’ - 90’
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.
VARIETY: Sep. 24, 2010,
review by : JAY WEISSBERG
Just in time for the release of a major report on the skyrocketing costs of dementia, along comes helmer Carles Bosch with an Alzheimer's docu that's touching, uplifting, and informative. At ﬁrst, "Bicycle Spoon Apple" seems very local, focusing on popular Catalan politico Pasqual Maragall and his determination to battle Alzheimer's with every weapon in his charismatic arsenal, but then Bosch broadens the scope by bringing in medicos to discuss the current state of research. Docu fests with homegrown auds as well as cable webs will beneﬁt from their efforts.
When Maragall, a popular ex-mayor of Barcelona and governor of Catalonia, was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's in 2007, he decided to go public and spearhead fund-raising campaigns that would foster research for a cure. The far-from-shy Maragall is an ideal spokesman: High-proﬁle, well liked and dynamic, he sets up the Pasqual Maragall Foundation to coordinate research and help ﬁnd a treatment that works.
Bosch ("Balseros," "Septembers") cleverly balances the personal with the medical, keeping Maragall and family front and center while weaving in the science via people like Zaven Khachaturian, the "father of Alzheimer's research," and heroic doctor Suvarna Alladi, who helps educate rural populations in Andhra Pradesh. Occasionally the docu tips into infomercial territory,especially with recurrent scenes on a large black soundstage, with blazing spotlights on ﬁve seated researchers. More like a latenight pseudo-highbrow quiz show than a meeting of the minds, these segments could easily be axed.
The docu's odd-sounding title comes from a mental exercise used by doctors in which patients are told three unrelated words and asked to recall them several minutes later; Bosch's decision to use it for his title is in line with Maragall's wishes to demystify the disease. Most of all, the ﬁlm advocates for patients in the early stages to be allowed a role in decision making, and Bosch is especially good at personalizing how his illness affects the entire family. By the pic's end, Maragall has been diagnosed for two years, and though the symptoms are only just becoming noticeable to viewers, it's clear his wife, Diana Garrigosa, and their children struggle to maintain the optimism that allows them to keep ﬁghting.
Visuals are extremely sharp, and apart from the soundstage sequences, the docu is very well edited. Saccharine piano music, designed to touch the emotions in ways the docu studiously and properly avoids, should be eliminated.