A clever little film about coping with mental illness

January 17, 2010

Not really a topic that many people find an engaging way to discuss. But this short film, Skhizein, by Jérémy Clapin, is a thing of real beauty. I first saw it in 2008 at the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol. I’ve now managed to find a link where you can watch the whole film, rather than just the clip I’ve previously linked to.

It tells the tale of a man who, when struck by a meteorite, finds himself exactly 91cm from where he should be. Which makes even the simplest of tasks very tricky. To open a door, sit down, answer the phone and even use the lavatory he has to be 91cm from where you think he should be.

Even sitting down is tricky

Hello? Speak up please.

He then gets hit by another meteorite, and finds himself still 91 cm to the side of where he should be. But he’s now also 75cm below where he should be.
Our narrator then tells us:
“They never tell you how crazy you are. Just that you’ve lost it, that you’re beside yourself…Out of your mind.”
And with these simple words you get the idea. You understand what the director is trying to communicate.

There are some great visual metaphors with the meteorites closing in on him and the whole room taking on an ominous and imposing darkness. It’s beautifully animated and very deftly handled. It makes you want to watch to see how he copes with everyday things, as you’ve seen from the images above. And this one, where he’s just looking out the window.

A unique view

Watch the full film below. And marvel at a spectacular 13 minutes.

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