Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
Project Advisor 2
The title of my work, “This kind of love”, was handwritten on a sealed envelope found among my sister’s possessions. These four words evoke a unique kind of love, shared by and with a person with a severe mental illness. The film is a portrait of the negative space where a beloved soul once thrived. It is a portrait of a sister and daughter, told in part through her art and words -- expressed in moments of clarity -- which reveal much, but leave so much unknown. It is a portrait of those around her, who try to understand her internal world without being able to get inside it; and a study of the effects of mental illness on a family: on a mother, sister, and a brother inside the never-ending process of dealing with the reality of mental illness long after it has set in, a lonely struggle made more difficult because of the lack of adequate resources and options available to the mentally ill.
The film aims to find my sister in her absence, through fragmented moments that attempt in indirect ways to represent a person who cannot represent herself. As both filmmaker and participant, I conduct that search through the testimony of my sister’s family; through her own sketches and writings; through a look at the world in which she lives and the spaces she occupies; and through an attempt to recreate the external sounds that she uses to drown out the unsettling voices that haunt her internal universe.
My sister’s illness is the shadow of this film, a reality impossible to understand, that looms over her family’s lives. The film’s focus is on the heartbreak her schizophrenia has left in its wake. By presenting it, I invite the viewer to sit with my mother and me, in the presence of a camera that takes us into the ordinary drama of everyday moments. Both in style and in content, the film attempts to capture the pain of living with the kind of grief that comes when something is lost, but not gone.
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Schiffer, Juliana Tango, "This Kind of Love" (2016). Senior Projects Fall 2016. 45.
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