Monday, April 19, 2010

A Documentary Film, Mental

While reading for this week's topic, psychological disorder, I recalled a film screening at MoMA in 2009. It was an observational documentary film, which was awarded as a best documentary for three times in Film Festival. The film sets at the little rural area in Japan called Okayama and develops its story by showing the stories in a special clinic called Chorale Okayama, which was first founded by a psychiatrist, Yamamoto Masatomo.

As the film started, I was pretty shocked by stories and behaviors of people visiting Dr. Masatomo. All people in this film are suffering from various mental illnesses: bipolar disorder, eating disorder, personality disorder, panic disorder, or schizophrenia. However, as the film gets to the end, it shows how Dr. Masatomo, volunteers, and home-helpers comforts their mental pains without using medicines. Dr. Masatomo in this film says that 'the locks are not for patients but for doctors and staff.' It means that those patients suffering from mental illnesses should not be locked in the hospital; the doctors need to support them so that they can be able to live in society as others. Indeed, Dr. Masatomo provides workplace for patients, such as a milk-delivery service compnay, a small restaurant and they gradually gets better.

The filmmaker, Kazuhiro Soda, was motivated to direct this film because he also experienced burnout-syndrome when he was a student. The director conveys the message that our life does not end although we give up; it is more like a cycle so that we can begin afresh anytime.

The film does not have background music or narrations. Therefore, watching this film for 135 minutes was not easy; it made me sleepy so that I had to search for an edited version on the web and watch it by myself. However, after watching this film, everyone could feel that those patients were much same as any others in the society. Also, a woman in this film says that she was afraid to visit Dr. Masatomo because her husband would seek a divorce.Since I am Asian, I could understand their pains little bit. In Asia, it is considered as a serious matter if a person receive counseling from a psychiatrist.

No comments: