An ode to love (at old age)

“To enjoy ’til the last drop” is Jeanne and Hetty’s mantra. Even though they’re not the youngest anymore, Hetty (76) and Jeanne (91) go out, dance on the beach, enjoy music, culture and, most of all, each other. Their colourful lives change when Jeanne’s dementia worsens. Hetty can only watch as the disease causes her love’s personality and capabilities to deteriorate.

Documentary maker Eva van Barneveld followed the couple from the start of 2019 to the end of 2021. In spite of it all, love perseveres during these drastic and yet beautiful years.

In Liefsteling, we experience firsthand the challenges Hetty faces, being Jeanne’s carer and lover. What’ll remain possible and what will she have to part with? Sometimes she’ll run out of patience, sometimes it hurts to lose a little piece of Jeanne. Even more reason to be grateful for the moments when they do find each other, in a chanson, during dance class or in the wind on the beach.

With Jeanne’s demand for Hetty’s care growing, their relationship starts to shift. Their strong connection is challenged from all sides. Hetty wants nothing more than to have Jeanne stay herself and keep her dignity but struggles with what little Jeanne can still comprehend. When caring for Jeanne becomes even more difficult, Hetty’s faced with a difficult decision: should she find help, in spite of Jeanne’s resisting? Jeanne thinks everything is going well and doesn’t understand why someone must come look after her when Hetty steps out for the afternoon. Their relationship changes little by little, but their love seems to triumph all.