Crazy Art (Justin Rowe, 2010): USA

Reviewed by Gillian Weiner. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

This well collaborated documentary focused on three individuals suffering from schizophrenia while making beautiful art. “Crazy Art” covers their past, present and the hopes they have for the future. Lesley, Rodger, and Trinaty all have two things in common, they suffer from a life altering disease that they are forced to deal with daily and they (and everyone) consider themselves an artist.

Each of them have there own symptoms they need to control. For example, Lesley was very suicidal and delusional. It was hard for her to tell the difference between reality and the voices she heard. She began painting and sculpting. Soon she was able to teach the joy of art to other mentally handicapped adults. The reason she’s doing so well is because of her ability to do and teach art everyday. Lesley I found was fascinating. When she talked about her illness she was very blunt and truthful about it. Then when she talked about her art and being an artist it seemed like she knew the only reason she’s alive was because she’s a working artist.

The documentary mirrored their three different stories with Vincent Van Gogh’s life story. He completed his most famous paintings while in treatment at a psych ward. The relation I thought was interesting between the two cases. The questions the interviewer asked were interesting and compelling. You could tell Rodger, Lesley, and Trinaty have been asked them before but they seemed more honest. Lesley said her true hope is that people will see this documentary and be educated in some form.

This documentary was very interesting. To see three different, local, adults suffering from an illness that’s almost uncontrollable was mind-blowing. The art they all three created was deep and beautiful. From the sculptures to the spray paint canvases, a certain amount of life experience is needed to create such work.

I personally think this documentary should be shown everywhere to everyone. It is very humbling and compelling all at once.

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