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"Lost Person" by James Paddock

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James Paddock's entry into the 2019 Raw Vision short film competition.

James is a self-taught film maker who suffers from psychosis. He learns with every film that he makes. His film, "Lost Person", is about a man suffering from psychosis.

After various conversations with mental health professionals, it seemed to James that there is a widespread problem in British society today with people suffering from mental illness and social isolation. Since the 1980s, ‘Care in the Community’ has been the primary means of treating physically and mentally disabled people outside of institutions, within the safety of their own homes. However, their entrapment remains unavoidable. Rather than being imprisoned within an institution, these individuals are caged within their own homes, closing their curtains and hiding themselves away from the world. These people soon become lost within a culture and society that is otherwise constantly accelerating, ready to turn a blind eye to any obstacle in its path.

"Lost Person" is a moving image installation, designed to embody this struggle. The character we are introduced to is screaming out for help, but his words are muted. His voice has been taken away, and our only means of hearing him is through the subtitles that appear silently at the bottom of the screen.

We hear British sitcom style characters with canned laughter showing a dark side of British society. The film suggests an underlying disdain that some feel towards the vulnerable in society; for instance, when the voiceover character's house value is at stake. Their comedic nature is awkward and uncomfortable to listen to, as if they are there to taunt the man on the screen. We ask, are the voices real or are they a figment of the man’s imagination? Is this juxtaposition of comedy and suffering intended to mock and humiliate?

We hear life carrying on outside his window, whilst the character is in isolation. The installation incites us to examine and understand the harsh nature of mental health, as we sit helplessly on the side line.

Film submission ID: 59