Great Britain 2008. Director: Leo Regan
With: Ruth Wilson, Rufus May
VANCOUVER PREMIERE! │ Offering a disturbing and thought-provoking look at how society deals with mental illness, The Doctor Who Hears Voices uses a mix of documentary and drama to tell the true story of Ruth, a young doctor-in-training suspended from her job after telling her employers she has been feeling depressed and suicidal. Fearing for the future of her career, Ruth doesn’t tell her employers something else: that she is also hearing voices urging her to kill herself. For help, she turns to Rufus May, a clinical psychologist and outspoken advocate of the Hearing Voices Movement, a group that challenges conventional psychiatric thinking and opposes the use of medication. (Rufus was himself diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 18 and told he would need medication for the rest of his life, a diagnosis he later rejected.) His therapy has Ruth engaging her “voice” in a dialogue. The film follows Ruth over 18 chaotic months, as she strives to combat the voice and regain her job without medication. Her role is played by a professional actress, but Rufus May plays himself; the scenes between the two of them are based on notes and transcripts from his sessions with the real Ruth. The result is a complex, multi-layered hybrid of a film that questions our notions of mental health and how it should — or shouldn’t — be treated. Colour, Digibeta video. 63 mins.
Post-screening discussion with Dr. Sean Flynn, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Flynn is actively involved in research related to the investigation and treatment of psychosis. He is also involved in teaching physicians, medical students, residents and allied health care workers about the management of psychosis.
“This outstanding, startling docu-drama is… in a different class altogether.” – The Mirror