Empathy is the Devil
By Carey Ryan
An overly generous man with an addiction to giving finds that charity is not always a two-way street.
The trick to making a film that deals with addiction, mental health, social pressure and how outsiders are treated in modern society is in making it palatable. Silent film offers the audience an opportunity for gentle reflection through nostalgia, to remember an era when people tackled tough times with humour and grace, and took pleasure in simple things.
Dance reaches the audience in a specific way; its winding physicality bypasses logic and goes straight to our emotional core. Its ethereal quality allows the viewer to visualise Otis’ inner journey – bringing his sensibility to the fore without dialogue.
Using imagined stages of addiction helped to give the film a roadmap. Otis traverses euphoria, debt, denial, resolve, relapse, guilt, withdrawal and finally, acceptance.
Ultimately, couching the issues in a silent dance film allowed us to comment, in a palatable way, on the increasing lack of freedom in our society; a steadily declining health system, and, to remind us that finding happiness may be as simple as dancing around the lounge room with whomever or whatever happens to be there at the time!