In her personal portrayal of living a life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or «ME», director Jennifer Brea discloses the public aspect of her private, passive condition and shows how her suffering is a matter of long-standing power relations.
«I know you have been saying to yourself «If I really couldn’t stand up, why would I be filming it?’ Well I kind of think that someone should see this.»
We hear the voice of Jennifer Brea pronounce these words slowly and with a great effort, as we observe from an uncomfortable closeness how she is struggling in vain to raise her body from the floor.
«More than 85 per cent of all patients with ME are women.»
In this intimate first-person documentary, the independent filmmaker who «from as early as I can remember, wanted to swallow the world whole» as she says, narrates about a mysterious illness that confined her to bed.
When she was twenty-eight years old and working on her PhD at Harvard she met the love of her life, but only months away from getting married a fever left her bedridden. Doctors told her it was «all in her head», but conditions only got worse. It was at this moment that she picked up her camera. The story she tells is a personal story about her unique life experience. «I really don’t want to die, but at a certain point it’s hard to call this living.»
ME – A complex disease
Unrest is also much more than a personal story. The film uses home videos and photographs, as well as television archival material and video material of other patients and their families. However, the story is mostly through Jennifer’s eyes, be it with her personal camera, or through the Skype video chats that enabled her to connect to other people suffering from the same illness all over the globe.
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