My Beautiful Broken Brain

Recording Your Life, My Beautiful Broken Brain, Part 3

Lotje became obsessed with recording her recovery after the stroke. She filmed others during her career, so it made sense to turn toward this familiar medium while she recovered. Recording herself became the path to finding Lotje again.

We are continuing discussing Netflix’s documentary, My Beautiful Broken Brain, a film about Lotje’s efforts to understand her new way of seeing and interacting with the world with aphasia. This is the third article in a series of four posts about this wonderful documentary. You can read the first post or second post here.

Currently, you can only watch this documentary on Netflix.

The Importance of Hitting Record

Lotje admits that she is obsessed with recording her recovery because she’s worried about forgetting it. Because she can’t keep details in her brain, she wants them on film so she can review and remember.

Moreover, she is trying to make sense of the world around her. Everything feels as if it is trapped in a dream-state, and she can’t keep thoughts in her brain. Recording her world means that she can rewatch her day and sometimes find understanding in those moments of reflection.

Connecting with the Film Maker

Lotje discussed connecting with Sophie Robinson, her co-director and the producer of My Beautiful Broken Brain, in an article last year in Vogue. They met once during a project, and Lotje remembered her while she was still in the hospital.

Our relationship professionally really developed once I’d had the stroke. I was in hospital, unable to speak or communicate. But I had this desire to document everything—a sense of wanting to make a documentary, but not in a very logical, coherent way. At some point I was able to communicate with my brother that I really needed to get in touch with this woman. I’d forgotten her name, and I couldn’t really explain what I wanted. But I used diagrams and drawings and eventually he understood.

Lotje recorded some of the footage for their film with her phone, while Sophie recorded the rest.

In the first three or four months, I was recording everything that was happening through the day, because I was so fascinated by it and because I had problems with short-term memory. I didn’t want the experience to pass through me.

Recording herself ended up serving two purposes: providing Lotje with a means to remember and reflect, but also a film that provides a window of understanding into the world of aphasia.



  • Anonymous
    October 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I had a Stroke 4 y.o. and I was in Hospital in Ormstown, Quebec, Canada for 10 days and the Rehabilitation Center, Vaudreuil Dorion , Quebec for 2 months. I have Aphasia – Facial Paralysis and it slows down the blood flowing my Brain, …… so I cannot get memory which tells me the word I am looking for – the right word …! I end up with saying “I……..I……I…..” and my memory dose not come to me……..!

    I can not read or write ……only a few words that I remember …..I don’t get the message of reading and writing.

    I find it bad thinking of my life after the Stroke.

    If you get this message please comment. Maureen Cooney.

  • Mike Kane
    October 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Sadly it takes a looooong time. About 5 years for me. I am getting better. Do NOT quit!

  • jenny
    May 8, 2019 at 8:25 am

    We have recorded some of our aphasic members recently and wonder what you make of it? unscripted and unfiltered.

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