Crooked Beauty is a film that makes you question your own sanity. In a raw but composed narrative Jacks McNamara leads us through her experience of mental illness. She talks about beauty (it grows through the cracks in the pavement), about normality (in Western capitalist society, compared to the real world), about the felicitous, insightful perspective gained through a lens of mental illness, and about the unbearable pain that follows close behind.
The score is sparse, the silence confronting. Most of the film is in black and white and the photography illuminates the heightened perception she tells us of. We only see Jacks’ face for the first few minutes; beyond this her voice alone guides us: fitting, considering it’s her mind that is the subject.
She uses her story to critique the common medical system and challenges viewers to reconsider what depression might actually entail. Is it really that strange, she asks, for people to live outside of a world dictated by routines and protocols? As a student of both anthropology and creative writing I was amazed by the way Crooked Beauty weaves poetry and theory into a compelling story.
I want someone to turn this film into an installation: I want to walk through it and move between it’s spaces at my own will; to pick things up and ask strangers questions; to rearrange the order of things, not because they are wrong but because any idea of rightness is illusionary – is mad, you could say.
Crooked Beauty does everything a good documentary should. It ignites your curiosity and a sense of injustice; it gives you insight into a world that not all are familiar with; it begins, in a precocious voice, to develop the language of compassion Jacks’ hopes to begin.
Go and see it, then go and think about it.
Crooked Beauty is showing as part of the Documentary Edge Festival.
For more information see the website here.
SCREENING IN AUCKLAND
Friday 4 May 12:45pm
Friday 11 May 6:15pm
SCREENING IN WELLINGTON
Friday 25 May 12:45pm
Tuesday 29 12:15pm
Friday 1 June 5:45pm