a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Mental / 精神

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Kazuhiro Soda is making his own case as the Frederick Wiseman of Japan. As the American auteur made a career inventing the rules of cinema verite and exposing the workings of U.S. institutions, Soda is, as he says it, “pulling back the curtain” on the monoliths of Japan. Last year’s Campaign was a surprisingly refreshing and engaging look at the LDP. Mental sees him delving into the world of mental health. He follows a handful of patients at the Chorale Okayama clinic. Unlike Wiseman, Soda lets his subjects talk directly to the camera. And talk they do. He gives plenty of time for them to speak about their problems, tell the stories of their lives and give human voices and faces to issues that are usually ignored or hidden from public view. All the stories are compelling. Some are devastating. But ultimately the viewer is left with a small window of understanding and identification with these brave individuals who could very well be friends or family going through similar struggles with mental health

Originally published in EL Magazine, June 2009

Written by Nicholas Vroman

June 1, 2009 at 12:21 am

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