When I was a psychiatric nursing student, as part of our "reading list" we were asked to watch two movies. The 1965 film Repulsion and the 1948 American production of The Snake Pit.
The Roman Polanski film Repulsion chronicles the mental deterioration of young Belgian woman ( Catherine Deneuve), who is shut away in her isolated London flat, and features some striking sequences that outline paranoid delusions and visual hallucinations suffered by someone who is experiencing an acute psychotic episode.
Even by today's standards, it is truly a disturbing piece of work.
The Snake Pit , which was more melodramatic in style, was a film that was instrumental in reforming in patient mental health treatment in the United States, for it graphically outlined abuse by ill- trained and damaged nursing staff as well as the more archaic aspects of asylum treatments. The film also looked at the inpatient experience through the eyes of a patient, which was revolutionary for the 1940s
Both films provided invaluable talking points during our nurse training.
|Olivia De Havilland giving it "large"|
The lone " unstable "woman who is caught up in a "is she really mentally ill or is she speaking the truth?" kind of drama has long been a bit of a Hollywood cliché. It is perhaps a more palatable way of presenting the true reality of a mental breakdown, a reality which has seldom resulted in box office gold and/or indeed critical acclaim
The realistic depiction of mental illness on film, by the very nature of the beast, is painful, hard work and can be intensely frightening...
Last night I went to see the Scandinavian film Babycall, a film that brought into play every "is she really a nutter?" cliche known to man.
The story centres upon the mentally fragile Anna, (Noomi Rapace) who has just escaped an abusive and violent relationship. She has been relocated into an isolated high story flat in Oslo with only sparse contact with social services as company.
So that she can constantly monitor her troubled 9 year old son, she sets up a baby alarm in his room and during the night she starts to hear the screams of an unknown child being abused.....
However, things are not quite what they seem..........
As a study of a woman that could be suffering from delusional schizophrenia, the film is a cracking watch, thanks primarily to Rapace who captures perfectly the brittleness and blunting of effect the abused Anna would show, but unfortunately the whole thing veers from an interesting psychological study of a mental breakdown into a somewhat confusing supernatural chiller.......
Rapace, I will give 9/10
The film , I would give a disappointing 6.5