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Event

A Six-pack of Mental Health Films at Cork Film Festival

Date posted: 12 November 2013

As part of its commitment to the use of film to explore some of the burning issues of our time, and its passion for documentary, the 58th Cork Film Festival presents six compelling programmes exploring mental health, all at €6 or less. Titles in this strand: Camille Claudel (1915) (Sunday 10 November 1615, €6); Here One Day (Monday 11 November, 1045 Gate, €6); The Man Whose Mind Exploded (Monday 11 November 1100, Gate, €6); Forget Me Not (Vergiss Mein Nicht) (Tuesday 12 November, 1630 Gate, €6); World Shorts Four: the Comforts of Madness (Friday 15 November 1430, Gate, €6); Rich Pickings: Battle for the Brain (Sunday 17 November 1400, 3 hrs, Triskel, €6).

This first film – fresh from its premiere at the London Film Festival, and in the Opera House – stars the genius Juliet Binoche, playing the genius sculptor Camille Claudel (1915). Winter, 1915. Confined by her family to a mental asylum in the south of France where she will no longer sculpt Camille Claudel lives a reclusive life while waiting for a visit from her brother, Paul Claudel.

On Monday 11 November, there’s a choice between two wonderful documentaries.

Playing like a Greek tragedy, Here One Day is a bracing, visually arresting, emotionally candid portrait of a woman coping with mental illness. When filmmaker Kathy Leichter moved back into her childhood home after her mother committed suicide, she discovered a hidden box of audiotapes. Sixteen years passed before she had the courage to delve into this trove, unearthing details that her mother had recorded about every aspect of her life from the challenges of her marriage to a State Senator, to her son’s estrangement, to her struggles with bipolar disorder.

Set in a flat that is also a work of art recalling an exotic history of sex, drugs and surrealism, director Toby Amies’s The Man Whose Mind Exploded is a strange kind of love story. It’s a record of the painful, hilarious, tender, weird and unique relationship between the celibate Drako Oho Zarhazar and the director. Drako suffers from acute brain damage and memory loss choosing a life of what he assumes carries no consequence. Unfortunately, reality does not always submit to his philosophy.

On Tuesday 12 November, prolific German director David Sieveking visits Cork to present his moving warm documentary Forget Me Not (Vergiss Mein Nicht), a portrayal of the domestic care of his mother Gretel who, like millions of others, is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Bohemians and activists during the 60s, David’s parents had an open relationship throughout their marriage, seemingly without issue. But as Gretel’s illness worsens, a spotlight is shone on the family dynamic, in particular David’s parents, and painful memories rise up. The changes taking place force everyone to deal with familial conflicts, and how they can bring each other closer together. With humour and candour, Forget Me Not is characterised by loving affection, where it is the human being at the centre of the story, not the illness. Forget Me Not was nominated for a Best Documentary Award in this year’s German Film Awards, and won the Critics Week Award at last year’s Locarno International Film Festival.

On Friday 15 November, appearing within the 12 programmes of short films in competition within Shorts@CFF is World Shorts Four: the Comforts of Madness. What happens if you combine extreme sleep deprivation, a wayward horse and dog, a family of Tibetan nomads, an Icelandic man with a mental illness and a fragile house amid a harsh psychological and geographical landscape? This is probably your one chance to find out.

Within that diverse programme is Devil in the Room, an hybrid animated documentary on sleep paralysis, directed by Carla MacKinnon. Carla is also curator and co-founder of Rich Pickings whose three events at the Cork Film Festival are the foundation of the Festival’s Ideas strand.

Carla’s short and feature film and discussion event Rich Pickings: Battle for the Brain is the culmination of the explorations of mental health at the Cork Film Festival. The programme is an exploration of the social, political and legal landscape of mental health, and has as its cornerstone multiple award winning Canadian filmmaker John Kastner presenting in Cork his new film NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, a documentary telling the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger six times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take anti-psychotic drugs. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised. This feature will be followed by a Q&A with John and an extensive discussion around the issues the film addresses.

Prior to the feature will be a diverse programme of shorts looking at mental illness, stigma and treatment. These include three animations: BAFTA nominated I’m Fine Thanks by Eamonn O’Neill; Like Me Only Better, a short animation by Martin Pickles looking at Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and its medication and Heather, a harrowing short by Ed Suckling about a man who finds a badly beaten woman outside his apartment. These animations will be followed by Fallout, a powerful live action short film depicting the effects of Post Traumatic TSD on an army veteran. Its director Peter Carruthers will also be in attendance to discuss the short film’s themes and his extensive research into mental health problems encountered by veterans.

For further information or to book phone 021 4 222 803 or e-mail boxoffice@corkfilmfest.org

http://www.corkfilmfest.org/

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