The short film Next to Her (aka Avalon) is the story of an elderly man, Maurice, who visits his
wife with dementia at the hospital. A shared lunch is all they have
left, but his wife’s thoughts drift off towards the ghost of her cat,
Avalon, whose picture sits on the bed stand ‘next to her’. As Maurice
gets more frustrated with his wife’s behavior, the fine line between
nurturing and torturing is easily crossed.
The majority of Next to Her was lensed at the resident care centre Het Heiveld in Sint-Amandsberg,
Belgium. Turned out Het Heiveld has a cat: Sheba. The cat loves to
stroll through the hallways, peeps into the rooms, sunbathes in the
garden, and keeps the elderly residents company at the refectory during
lunch time. His food and water bowls sit together with a small
scratching post next to the reception area. By following the cat around,
I also discovered he has his own room with an even bigger cat tree. At
the refectory is a framed picture of the cat. “Sheba is really kind and
likes cuddles. We all love him,” one of the residents said.
Some lovely pictures.