Written and directed by Christina Eliopoulos
Starring: Joe Cortese and Azhy Robertson
Dementia is not a normal part of aging, yet it affects an ever-growing population of elderly—roughly 47 million people worldwide. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most recognizable form of dementia, but there are several other types. What they all have in common is the catastrophic toll it takes on the brain, creating disturbances in perception and rational thinking and most importantly, confusion of time, place, and identification of people. Understanding this progressive neurological disease from an affected person’s point of view is key in gaining not only knowledge, but empathy. Films like “The Father and the Bear,” “The Genius of Marian,” and “The Silver Tsunami” are a few films that touch upon this. And now, thanks to filmmaker Christina Eliopoulos, we have a wonderfully creative story in “Tonight and Every Night” that takes us inside the mind of “Yianni” (Joe Corese) who wanders off and befriends a little boy he calls “Boss” (Azhy Robertson).
Yianni appears to be the host of a popular late night talk show, Johnny Carson style. He’s witty, charming and has an amazing array of talented guests on his show, from Charlie the Egg Man (Mark Gindick) to Lanetta (Tara Murtha) the waitress. Yianni is roused from his wandering mind and back into reality when he meets a little boy who, as children tend to do, asks some point-blank questions. Yianni has a special connection with this little guy and their conversations are telling of what each of them truly needs in their own stages of life.
“Tonight and Every Night” beautifully intertwines Yianni’s reality into the real world, two different places, and touches upon his most emotional memories. The characters in Yianni’s mind are every bit as vibrant as the surrounding scenery. It’s gorgeously shot, easily transporting us from the land of make-believe to the wide open expanse of confusion in reality. Eliopoulos’s use of the little boy in this film opens us up to the realization that we all understand a child’s development, but do we understand the degeneration of someone suffering from dementia? With Corese’s stellar performance, we are able to get a glimpse inside this disease and gain that understanding as our loved ones decline.
The small and talented cast, sometimes performing multiple roles, give us a behavioral mirror into which to look. Each of us connects with one another and that connection remains strong. Supporting one another can be difficult at times, but the more we can walk in someone else’s shoes, the easier the load. “Tonight and Every Night” gives us a well-fitting pair of shoes to try on.
“Tonight and Every Night” opens the door of dementia and holds our hand to lead us through the journey of understanding. Rarely does a film create an empathetic viewpoint, but Eliopoulos skillfully does so. It’s a poignant and meaningful film that is remarkably socially relevant in today’s world.
“Tonight and Every Night” is part of the Shorts 3 program at Dances With Films on Saturday, June 3 at 5 pm. For ticket information, go to DANCES WITH FILMS TICKETS
For more information about this film go to www.tonightandeverynight.com