Schizophrenia is an extremely complex mental illness, which is often misunderstood by the general public and misrepresented by filmmakers. Tackling the topic with the intent of portraying it accurately should be applauded.

Two independent filmmakers are hereby exalted for their momentous achievements. They found actors dedicated to the task, were not shy about showing the horrors of the affliction, and did so in realist fashion.

Clean Shaven

Clean Shaven

Lodge Kerrigan directed Clean, Shaven in 1993. Peter Greene masterfully portrays a schizophrenic father on a quest to locate his daughter who has been placed for adoption.

Voices play inside his head like radio broadcasts. He must fight to discern reality and wage war against the inner torment to keep cognate enough to succeed. Meanwhile, he is being suspected for a brutal crime. The film is disturbing to watch and equally intriguing.

Julien Donkey-Boy

Julien Donkey-Boy

Julien Donkey-Boy is directed by Middle Tennessean, Harmony Korine. Julien Donkey-Boy has prestige as the first American film accepted by the Dogma 95 Jury, with the honor to wear their seal.

The Julien character suffers from schizophrenia and is the likeness to Korine’s real Uncle Eddie, played by Ewen Bremmer. The film paints a portrait of a dysfunctional family and engages us with some bizarre and unique characters.

Esteemed director, Werner Herzog plays the abusive father in some unforgettable scenes. If you must have a formal narrative please stop here, but Korine’s random style of imagery lends itself very well to the subject at hand.

Until next time, I hope you have a great viewing experience.  Comments are welcomed at cinespire@gmail.com.


About the Author

Norbert made Murfreesboro, Tenn., his home in 1997. He conceived the Living Room Cinema column in 2006, and submits them regularly to the Murfreesboro Pulse. Aside from his love of films, Norbert is also an avid photographer. He is the very proud father of two, he beats on an old guitar, and plays a dicey game of Chess at best. Like Living Room Cinema at facebook.com/livingroomcinema.

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