Florian Zeller was 15 years old when his grandmother, who helped raise him, began to suffer from dementia. After she was no longer allowed to drive, he remembers, she became fixated on her car. “She was convinced all the time that someone had stolen it,” Zeller says in a video call from Paris, “which led to her becoming almost paranoid about it.”

In The Father—a film based on Zeller’s hit 2012 play of the same name, and also marking his debut as a film director—Anthony Hopkins plays Anthony, a man suffering from dementia who develops a fixation on his watch. “The watch becomes a symbol for Anthony’s lost bearings,” Zeller explains. “His illness means that time’s linear nature is constantly called into question.”