A Good Yarn

Monday, November 22, 2004


I always think if I only were independently wealthy, I could get so much done. But I think the opposite is true. This weekend was really busy, but I got more done around the house than I did last weekend. I think when I know I'm short on time, I'm more motivated to do something besides knit. I noticed the same thing the one time I didn't have a job. I decided to try to get by on my student loan money alone and not work for a semester in college. I didn't get any more studying done than I did when I was working.

Most of yesterday was taken up by the Vikings game. Ugly, ugly win. I almost left at half-time, but I'm not the "leave at halftime" type of gal and I guess it paid off with a 4th quarter come back. I'm hoping it was so close only because it's a divisional opponent and those games tend to be closer than others. We'll see this Sunday when Jax comes to town.

After the game, I went out to dinner at Figlio with a friend, then we saw this movie:

Very interesting movie. I liked it, but I admired it more. Documentaries are my favorite movies, so I'm coming from that starting point. This one is directed by a guy whose mother (Renee, by coincidence) has schizophrenia. It's his life story told through many photos and video clips throughout the years. He was into filmmaking early in life and made little videotaped vignettes and just videotaped his family all the time. He put this movie together on his own home computer using video editing software that came with the computer. So, I really admire how he was able to do that. It's amazing to see these videotapes and see his beautiful mother go from a child-model into just a crazy world-weary old woman at the end. Most of the story is told through flashing photos and film clips with titles placed over them. For instance, there'd be pictures of Renee as a child and then something like "Renee was discovered by a famous photographer". The director also tells the story in third person. Especially when telling stories about his childhood, there's a lot going on and I think it was meant to communicate visually the chaos in his childhood. It was very disconcerting. I think if he had told a regular, straight documentary-style with his voiceover, I would have connected more to him and his story. However, this is probably a better style. A lot of the cases I have obviously get into the court system due to some sort of mental illness. Most of the parents aren't as severe as Renee was, but when you have to deal with it, crazy is crazy. So that was very interesting to me. The director questions whether his mother's illness was caused by shock treatments she was given at age 12. She fell out of a window and was paralyzed for a while and her parents began to believe her paralysis was all in her head, so they had her undergo electro shock therapy. So, was the mental illness already there and genetic, or did the EST at that stage of her development change her brain? It's hard to say. The director himself suffered from mental illness, but early in his life, he was in foster care while his mother was hospitalized and was severely abused in foster care. So was his mental illness inherited from his mother or a symptom of the trauma? He later lived with his maternal grandparents. His mother claims that when she was a child they beat her and locked her in a closet. Did that really happen or is she just paranoid? The director never says that they abused him, but he never says they didn't either. There are many interesting questions that you are left to ponder and discuss afterward, which I love.