I skuggan av oron (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2017.

Subject

Anxiety disorder.

Commentary

The animation is competent but unexciting. The script is representative of the attitude of sufferers: Medical experts are distrusted and the disease is perceived as an integral part of the self, like deafness among the deaf in Voices from El-Sayed (2008). As the protagonist puts it in her narration, “Jag vet inte vem jag hade varit utan” (“I don’t know who I would have been without”). This is an expressive sentence, its poor grammar implying the person’s unwillingness to even conceive of the disorder as an “it” separate from the “I”, and its content implying that the condition extends even to anxiety about the absence of anxiety.

The medical doctor, shown as a giant toad among people, is a self-contradictory caricature of the profession: He’s worked in psychiatry for 10 years and does not believe that mental disorders are real, yet he spontaneously prescribes SSRIs (as evidenced by the protagonist suffering from Lhermitte’s phenomenon), clearly demonstrating a belief that mental disorders are real. This is cynical enough that I can’t recommend the film except for ecocritical purposes. It seems to be an effort to normalize the disease and condemn treatment, purely on the basis of the subjective experience of the disease.

animation fiction moving picture