Being Bonkers - Channel 4 TV- Friday Dec 6 - 7.30pm (UK)
- Alt-TV: BEING BONKERS
Friday 6 December Channel 4 TV 7.30pm (UK)
The Radio Times says:
"Film-maker Andy Lee recalls moments of surprising comedy in his experience of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act eight years ago as Alt-TV continues its third series of experimental works by new directors."
The Culture section of The Sunday Times says:
"Eight years ago, after claiming that John Lennon was his spirit guide and that reality was a cinematic illusion, Andy Lee was sectioned. He was, his then-wife Julie wryly admits: "strange and intensely irritating" - a diagnosis that displays more precision than that of the doctors, who variously decided he was suffering from mania, a mood disorder, encephalitis and, finally, paranoid schizophrenia. It was only after his eventual release that he obtained a true diagnosis of his apparent breakdown, a final revelation that gives this programme its campaigning edge.
Mirroring his claims that reality is a movie, Lee has cast himself, his family and a false beard in a reconstruction of this interlude. He intersperses the dramatised account of his illness with his own narration as he prepares a meal, the camera slyly lingering on the knife he uses to chop garlic or the blue flame of his gas oven - things considered dangerous in the hands of a lunatic. He examines the difference between a symptom and a side effect, highlights the nature of psychiatric diagnosis and the unsympathetic attitudes of some professionals and polishes the old chestnut about whether mad people are "differently sane".
The nudging of the boundaries between reality and illusion and the apt (but annoying) "I'm mad" humour makes this film "strange and intensely irritating", too - but ultimately Lee tells a poignant and unusual story with an admirably clear mind."
Andy Lee doesn't appear to have web presence but C V Edwards who contributed to the music and plays the part of the "Independent Psychiatrist" in the film, provides two very good sites on both his work and the actual film, with photos, cast lists and so on:
IT'S ABOUT BEING BONKERS
(C.V.Edwards contributed music for the film as well as appearing as the "Independent Psychiatrist"
As I sit comfortably within the warmth of my bed I begin to reflect upon the past and the present. But I'm not reflecting upon the parasitic duties of self-destruction. No, I'm talking more about the wonderfully enshrined and poetically challenged aspects of my real life. You know, the one where we all get up with the sun and go down with the moon and a bottle of assorted pills. Yes, that one.
The one thing that really stands out in my mind is recently I was asked to take part in a project, which will lay some ghosts and hopefully show some unsuspecting people that the world is not quite what it seems. This is something I could not resist. I also felt involved on many levels. The project in question was a film that was going to involve the re-enacting of personal experiences for a close friend, Andy Lee. Opening up the past with a firm grip and showing the viewer what it can be like if you are not careful, or even if you are careful, and to try and avoid any kind of madness will only result in further personal confusion. My first thought upon hearing Andy's idea was 'Jesus, what the hell does he want to do that for?' and then after a couple of cups of earl grey tea I then thought 'Jesus, what a brave and absolutely brilliant thing to do!' Because, actually, the truth is, that no one is safe when dealing with the combined minds of The Medical Profession and the whole entourage of Psychiatrists. These people, given the chance, will be the ones who will decide our sanity. If they should ever get their grubby little tobacco stained hands on us.
After many discussions with Andy I began to hear how the film was taking shape and it was beginning to resemble something which was going to make some peoples hair stand on end. But personally, I was pleased to see that it was going to be packing quite a humorous punch. It was as if Spike Milligan were sending telepathic signals from the great Goon's grave, encouraging Andy to open up and show the absurdity and utter banality of the various treatment and workings of the Mental Institution. Showing the hazards of being medically sectioned and then plied with drugs as if he were some experimental guinea pig.
The call sheets were sent out, the dates were set for filming and I was on my way to add my little bit of help to shooting of Andy's film 'Being Bonkers' and what a grand title it was. If that don't pull the viewing public by the curiosity strings and into the TV examination room, then nothing will.
The two shooting days resembled a combination of being wrapped in a big blanket of friendly conversations, a curious nervousness, a polite eagerness, but most of all, a calm and jovial family picnic atmosphere.
Everyone had gathered and took their place for the journey which was about to be taken, and everyone of us was about to be given a most fascinating insight into what a strange, weird and amazingly coincidental course of events led to Andy's being locked up and wrongly diagnosed. But most importantly is the fact that it can happen, and does happen all the time.
There was a most fantastic moment which happened while I was sitting in front of camera and awaiting the final adjustments by the film crew that will live with me forever. It was the scene where I play an independent psychiatrist. I'm sitting upon the side of Andy's bed and I ask him a couple of questions. As we were waiting for the all-clear I turned and looked at Andy eye to eye, and I suddenly realized that after all our conversations, debating and personal probing we were actually doing it. I mean, we were actually on a film set, having this conversation. After all that has happened and still happening in our lives. The finger-pointing, the wise-cracks, the strange looks and the total lack of understanding from friends and family, we were on a film set taking part in something which to everyone who knows us would never have dared to accept in any way as being possible.
So, I for one, will be quietly laughing as the very first frames of the film start to flicker upon the TV screen. I will also confess that my secret and personal wish for the film is that it will 'out-freak-the-freaks' in some way, not in a dangerous way but in a thought provoking way. Hopefully, it will have an effect upon the viewer that will lead them into searching out and desperately clambering for more information about Andy, the music and the rest of us who are involved in this snowballing madness which takes up, and makes up, our everyday lives.
posted by Rosemary
"Campaigning for good health & social care...it's for everyone"
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