A blend of drama and documentary, this film follows several people caught up in the turmoil of the modern world. The drama centres on a woman who has burned out and who holds up her own despair – and her attempts to rebuild her life – as a mirror to the rest of us. With a blend of gravity and humour, Sylvie Groulx's film shows the absurdity of a society dedicated to the cult of speed at all costs.
WARNING: This film discusses the topic of OCD. Viewer discretion is advised.
This feature documentary explores the daily lives of individuals living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a misunderstood anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts, nagging fears and ritualistic behaviour. From the outside, its sufferers have no physical disabilities and have every appearance of being as functional as the next person. But inside, a daily war is waged for survival.
This short documentary is a fascinating portrait of the Vancouver Mental Patients' Association (MPA), a unique, democratically-organized advocacy and support group for people who have sought care in the mental health system. While client-centred care and advocacy in mental health are relatively more common now, they were unfamiliar concepts in the 1970s, and this film sheds light on the birth of this nascent movement. The MPA provides support and a space for discussion, which helps those dealing with mental health problems to re-integrate into their communities after sojourns in hospitals or other institutions. Members' comments afford some insight into what has been called the "mental health industry."
This short documentary introduces us to Martin Langlois, an autistic 22 year-old who is transferred to Maison Emmanuel when his devoted parents can no longer care for him. Maison Emmanuel is an alternative therapeutic community in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains that offers residents the ability to develop their life skills and particular gifts and abilities. Run by Inge Sell and her team, it is now home to 20 children and young adults, and forms part of a worldwide network of similar communities.
Filmed at the Wing Fong Farm in Ontario, this documentary follows the tilling, planting and harvesting of Asian vegetables destined for Chinese markets and restaurants. On 80 acres of land, Lau King-Fai, her son and a half-dozen migrant Mexican workers care for the plants. For Yeung Kwan, her son, the farm represents personal and financial independence. For his mother, it is an oasis of peace. For the Mexican workers, it provides jobs that help support their children back home.
An illustration of the rather unique way in which the day hospital of the Allan Memorial Institute in Montréal helps patients back to mental and emotional health. Patients not requiring full hospitalization come for daytime treatment and return to their homes at night. The case presented is that of a young woman who is under severe emotional stress. Interviews with a psychiatrist and group therapy sessions reveal the root of her trouble and set her on the path to overcoming her problem.
The story of a young woman's schizophrenic breakdown, and of her recovery in a modern mental hospital. Inherent in the film is an appeal for greater public understanding of mental illness and for the removal of the stigma that still surrounds it. The film presents the case of a seemingly well-adjusted young woman, showing the disintegration of her personality and the psychiatric treatment that follows.
This short drama tells the story of Andy Potter, a successful lawyer torn between 2 worlds - the world of reality and that of his own dreams and ambitions. With a loving wife, many supportive friends and a great career, there was no apparent reason for him to wish to end his life. Yet and still, one by one, the symptoms of schizophrenia took their toll.
This feature documentary profiles four residents of the Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. Four patients—two men and two women—struggle to gain control over their lives so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them. Shrouded in stigma, institutions like this one are places into which patients disappear from public view for years.
Four-time Emmy winner John Kastner was granted unprecedented access to the Brockville facility for 18 months, allowing 46 patients and 75 staff to share their experiences with stunning frankness.
For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
This short animation celebrates menopause through the story of Mabel. She’s juggling work, teenagers and an elderly mom. Now she’s got hot flashes and chin hairs! Before you can say "estrogen," purple-haired Mabel finds herself the heroine of her own adventure. Colourful computer animation and a rich musical score offer a reassuring look at one of the most important passages in a woman's life.
In the voiceover for this animated short, a young woman attempts to describe herself, casting her life in the ideal light that society expects. The film’s imagery, however, tells a different story, poignantly illustrating the intense anxiety that comes with the quest for perfection and the pursuit of happiness. A film that’s both funny and moving, and above all, profoundly human.
The case history of Margaret, a 23-year-old girl who has physical disorders with no physical causes. A psychiatrist shows her the root of her troubles--childhood overprotection and discouragement of her efforts to express herself, resulting in a crippling fear of failure and a complete inability to assert herself. When Margaret understands her problem, she develops new and healthier habits of behaviour.