For the first time, a centre for the treatment of eating disorders has opened its doors to allow observation of psychotherapy sessions.
We record stories of the tragic attempt to dominate one’s own body, stories of unease, disquiet, suffering and feelings of inadequacy, but also stories of hope.
The film develops over the course of a year, recounting the treatment of four patients: the evolution of their disorders, the setbacks suffered and the milestones achieved in an illness that is hard to combat. The stories of these patients emerge during psychotherapy sessions, forming the principal axis of the narrative structure. Access to these sessions provides a unique opportunity to shed light on a subject whose true nature is otherwise difficult to explore in depth. The camera records the stories, the confrontations, the memories, the feelings and the emotions at the very moment they reveal themselves to the person concerned, the moment at which they rise to the surface. We see people as they undergo change, suffer collapse, have their hopes renewed, help to heal others and receive healing themselves. We feel the profound pain, seeing it as it emerges and reveals itself, or sensing it retreat into hiding.
The therapist stimulates discussion, helping patients to express themselves, to open up, to understand themselves and each other, even when it is painful to do so. The film contrasts verbal and nonverbal communication to construct a dramatic thread that helps us discover what lies hidden behind the gestures, revealing what words alone could never express.
In some cases the patient is alone with the therapist, in others family members are also present. Tensions run high, following days of silence and communication failure in the four walls of home. Seemingly insurmountable barriers are slowly dismantled. Dialogue reopens, tinged both with suffering and with hope. The external manifestation of the disorder, based on a distorted self-image and on one’s relationship with food, shows its true roots. The film’s authors, from their privileged viewpoint, record the words never said, the glances never exchanged.
The film is shot entirely at the Centre for the Treatment of Eating Disorders, located at the Comprensorio di Santa Maria della Pietà in Rome.
by Ilaria de Laurentiis and Raffaele Brunetti
produced by B&BFilm
duration ca. 70 min
co-produced with RAI3
with the support of the European Commission’s MEDIA programme
recognised as of cultural interest by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities
AUTHORS’ NOTE OF INTENT
In the summer of 2006, we discover that our 16-year-old son is suffering from the eating disorder bulimia nervosa. That moment marks the start of a long course of therapy that involves us at a personal level. Our perspective changes radically as we learn about the nature of our son’s illness…
It is only by observing how much is said or left unsaid during the therapy sessions, by noting gestures, looks and reactions, that we can understand the dynamics lying below the surface of this illness. The most effective way of addressing the subject is therefore a film that shows the world what happens at the therapy sessions…
Writer – Director
Raffaele Brunetti is a producer and director of documentary films. Since 1988, he has been involved in the production of more than 100 documentaries in Italy and across the world. Films he has directed have been distributed in 160 countries…
ILARIA DE LAURENTIIS
Writer – Director – Editor
After graduating in 1987 from the Centre for Experimental Cinematography in Rome, Ilaria de Laurentiis started her editing career in 1989. Her films and documentaries have been shown by RAI, TF1, National Geographic, NHK, YLE, SVT, Planete, Arte and others…