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The Sick Room: A Docudrama - Psychological trauma and film aesthetic

Hillman, Adam (2011) The Sick Room: A Docudrama - Psychological trauma and film aesthetic. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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A screenwriter’s background of experiences and past psychological trauma can be integral to a film’s success if utilised to inform and define the filmmaker’s approach to storytelling. It is identified in this paper that The Sick Room, as a short film text, is constructed in this way. The story evolved from the filmmaker’s difficulties in dealing with a childhood trauma involving the uneasiness he felt about his uncle’s mental illness. By grounding the film’s narrative in his own circumstances the filmmaker seeks to find solutions to new understandings about the stigmatization of victims of mental illness and advocate for an increase in the level of patient care from mental health institutions in contemporary society.

Acknowledging the personal and prejudiced nature of his story the filmmaker endeavours to find an appropriate aesthetic style for The Sick Room to justify his perspective on the issue to the viewer. The filmmaker explores how the docudrama film, due to its correlations with the realist and Dogme95 movements of filmmaking, possesses the appropriate aesthetic qualities required to achieve the telling of his personal story in an entertaining way, but also one that provides the viewer with a more apparently unmediated experience.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Supervisor(s): McMullan, John
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