Body and Soul
We cannot discuss the well-being of our environment without discussing physical and mental health. We cannot talk about ecological disasters without remembering the biological ones happening within ourselves. Our bodies are ever, changing ecosystems, engaged in transactions with everything that surrounds us. We cannot build a healthy environment if we are sick and we cannot be healthy in sickly environments. Based on such considerations, we dedicate this section to films dealing with health and sickness through the lens of the relationship we conduct with our own selves, but also with our surroundings.
Here one can find some of the more personal films of this year’s selection, starting with “Pénélope, My Love,” where a mother documents the relationship with her autistic daughter, reflecting on her feelings regarding her child’s diagnosis and her own questionable desire to ‘save’ her. Also following this personal touch is “Eat Your Catfish,” a unique documentary made with the help of and from the perspective of a woman suffering from ALS, an illness that may deprive her of the independence of her own body, but which cannot diminish the independence of her mind. “The Perpetual Leek” enters its director’s most private thoughts, as she meditates on her health problems and their possible implications in relation to her desire to be a mother, while simultaneously observing the director’s own mother, who, despite her cancer diagnosis, goes on a journey of self-transformation and spiritual search. We encounter the return to spirituality once again in “Metok - A Tibetan Nun,” where a character we don’t usually meet in our everyday lives opens a door to a different type of existence that transcends personal ambitions.
By exploring the sensitive relationship of our bodies with fragility and mortality, as we anxiously wonder what may exist beyond them, the films in this section urge us not to look at health and well-being as simply the absence of illness, but rather to redefine them holistically, from the perspective of complex interacting systems which are not limited to a certain notion of physicality.