The Other Side of the Underneath

The Other Side of the Underneath

There's a short reference to the Roma/tinker communities of Wales in the credits, verifying that the scenes outside the hospital were filmed with them. Having their role in this be part of a vision of madness seems a little... problematic, but I don't know enough about their involvement to say more than that. Nor can I say what Jane Arden's relationship to schizophrenia might be.


How accurately it depicts mental illness, at least in terms of the immense pressure, stress, turmoil that it can afflict you with at its most intense moments, isn't far off. If not schizophrenia, then certainly this matches the inner boil of trauma, anxiety, and depression horrifyingly well. The repetition, the chaos, the recursive references to trauma, the violence of men layered into it. All of these are familiar. The insistent nature of my mental illnesses is mirrored here.

The tacit critique of certain forms of treatment depicted here delve into the patriarchal view of mental illness as well, accurately capturing the role of patriarchy in flawed approaches to treatment and as a source of mental stress. There's even a musical sequence about your castrating mum to drive the point home in a vision of pure disturbance.

This is a violent film, a cacophony, an angry poem, an excoriation of someone's soul. The atmosphere of flaking paint and dingy halls matches the mist and overcast drudgery of the outside world. The blood in both is dark; the sky in both is dark; the pain in both is dark. This is a film that shows there is no escaping it.

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