Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Better the devil you know

Better the devil you know is a title of a new documentary about adolescents (up to age 19) and mental illness in a psychiatric residential setting. The creators, Stacy Pearsall and Alice Brooks are both documentary filmmakers who want to look at adolescent girls and the impact of eating disorders, self-mutilation, and body modification.

Although the filmmakers were inspired by Lauren Greenfield's Thin, there will be differences in their film. One noticeable difference they say is that, (from website)

"This film will not show triggering behavior, because between THIN and the popular A&E reality series INTERVENTION, there’s enough graphic representation of ED and SI behavior available to young girls already. This is not to shy away from the reality of the conditions, but to glorify recovery instead. Although relapse is certainly part of EDs and SI, it is not the story we want to tell. This is a story about finding a new, positive obsession to replace the old, negative one. It is only when this happens that one can really be 'cured.'"

Another difference is that participants will be given super 8 cameras which are small, inexpensive, easy to use cameras that were popularized in the 1960s and 1970s, especially for home made type movies. The filmmakers feel that this will allow the girls to manually and digitally edit themselves, thus showing what they want of their own, unique story.

Filming will begin in November 2008 at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska.

I think this could be an interesting film, especially since the the sensational factors will be removed. Though emaciation, purging, relapse happen, there is just a lot more to eating disorders and mental illnesses than the mere physical nature and behavior. I'm sure there will be a lot more questions as the filming gets underway, especially with the use of solely adolescents and their "mental health" in making decisions such as being in a film. Many may feel it is exploitative, while others not so. In this day and age, it seems par for the course and something the filmmakers will have to defend.

I guess my hope is that this will be a fresh, new, different take on those struggling with eating disorders and self mutilation. I applaud the fact that cutting will be represented as I think it often gets neglected and is misunderstood. We'll have to wait and see how the film pans out. I get excited about new films on mental illnesses, but at the same time am afraid of being disappointed as well. Let's hope this film gives voice to those suffering and will be helpful to the public.


brie said...

Wow. I can't wait to see this. The first time I was in a residential setting was when I was still a minor, and really, it was pretty awful. It saved my life, literally, from AN...my docs told my parents that if they didn't put me somewhere, I would, whether it was that day or in a month, die...so it saved me...but it killed the inside of me, and really, after I was released, it made me worse. It killed my soul. It might sound like I'm being dramatic, but I honestly mean it.

xo :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds very cool. Can't wait to see it!

elizabeth said...

I think it is really great that they are choosing to not highlight the more triggering behavoirs themselves, this seems to always be the part in ed/si documentaries that I am often torn about-- it seems so counter productive to me. Thanks so much for sharing.
and bag balm... I will have to try this. I swear that in the summer I go through tubes of hydro cortizone and bottles of calamine lotion.

Tiptoe said...

Brie, I hope in recovery you are able to find the self and soul you lost. I know depression and ED have killed parts of me that I hope to regain one day.

Charlynn, yeas, I think it will be an interesting film.

Elizabeth, thanks for commenting. I agree with you about the portrayal of ED/SI behaviors on screen. It can be counterintuitive.

Yes, try the bag balm. I just find it amazing for itching from those pesky pests. ;-)

Arielle said...

I agree with your take on the film. I too hope it will show a different aspect now that the sensationalized factors are removed. It's clever--because, as you said, there is so much more to a mental disorder than the physical aspects. It IS a mental disorder after all.

Thanks. :)

Much love,

Tiptoe said...

Arielle, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I guess we can both be hopeful together about the film. :-)