25th International Bremen Film Conference, May 5-8, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Mind/Screen: Mental Illness and Film

For its anniversary, the film symposium commits itself to a long-time companion of the cinema: Mental illness has been accompanying cinema since its origins contributing to its topics and forms, widening its possibilities of expression and theory.

Medical disciplines determine mental illness by means of demarcation, pathologisation and heteronomy. Films are able to question these methods using an aesthetical perspective, they can get the psychic experience of being ill across and put it in manifold contexts. Mental illness defies physical representation thus confronting the filmmakers with a fundamental problem. Hence, it is not just the head that can be seen as the central place where mental illness occurs and develops its effectiveness, but also the cinema.

Within the conference, international experts and filmmakers explore in what way clinical and social illness discourses can be represented in films and in what way cinema can describe an aesthetic of mental illness. The focus is for one thing on the many ways of cinema to generate its own media-specific order of clinical patterns, and for the other on the relationship between the sick and the treatment person as a central setting, as well as the multi-dimensionality of depictions of diseases.

With international experts and filmmakers, the Symposium aims to explore how clinical and social discourses of mental illness are negotiated in film and how cinema can articulate the aesthetics of mental illness. Here the focus is on the means of cinema to generate its own, media-specific order of illness portrayals, further on the relationship between the sick and the therapists as a central medical setting, as well as on the multi-dimensionality of illness representations.

For more information, please visit the conference's website.

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