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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw that film today - "Tarnation"

It is certainly interesting...no doubt about that one. It's an independent film made for virtually nothing, all spliced together from home movies, computer imaging, etc...the story of this young man whose mother was mentally ill - their journey, his abuse, his homosexuality, his abusive experiences in foster care.....and his dp. He certainly does seem to know what dp is, but he links it back to a PCP laced joint, which if you see the movie, was the LEAST of his problems/issues.

It's a very very rugged movie - HARD to watch if you're sensitive - his mother is extremely ill and by the end, partially brain damaged from severe overdoses of lithium, and years of shock therapy. It you can't stand the idea of watching someone right in the middle of a psychosis, don't see it.

Otherwise, it's very interesting (not brilliant, as some critics are calling it, just darn good). I'd say the entire family had major dissociative tendencies - it was clear in the mother very young and was clear in the boy's reactions to some trauma - I think his onset of dp was linked to his watching his mother being raped when he was young, and his subsequent identification with her....he has MANY confused feelings about her, and in the film, the only ones he seems to acknowledge are his love. No acknowledgement of other more confusing feelings that he clearly HAS - there's a scene of him as a kid dressed up as a woman, doing a dramatic parody of a suffering woman....very sado-masochisitc enactment of a mother he adores/despises.

I'd say see it if you're feeling strong and curious, but there is nothing in there re DP that you don't already know.

Peace,
Janine
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
there's a scene of him as a kid dressed up as a woman, doing a dramatic parody of a suffering woman....very sado-masochisitc enactment of a mother he adores/despises.
well looks like i won't be seeing this movie

i probably wouldn't want to see it anyways, especially from your description, but that was the icing on the cake.

Janine you need to make a movie! lol :D
 

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might feel up for watching it by the time it gets to the uk
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I saw Tarnation today here in Holland (Premiere week).
I doubt if the mother was really schizophrenic? Or was there something else going on with her? The one scene in which she was playing with the pumpkin I found quite disturbing, I had to look away for a couple of seconds on more than one ocassion. It made me feel weird and I felt almost a little angry with her.
I felt what was clearly lacking was Jonathan expressing his REAL feelings towards his mother (other than his love).
Also, and I agree with Janine, his DP was likely due to other factors than only smoking two PCP laced joints. I would have found it much more interesting if Jonathan would have focussed on HIS trauma, how all he experienced in his life had effected him. I missed that.

His grandmother and granfather I found very spooky. And I wonder if they did the things Renee (Jonathans mother) claimed they had done to her. It could have been delusional, yet it could have been true?
It was interesting that when Jonathan asked his grandfather about his mother's allegations her parents severely abused her, the grandfather got very very mad.
I felt Jonathan touched on a sore spot (maybe the truth?) and the grandfather changed from a 'nice' (but spooky) guy, into almost a whole different person. It was scary to watch.
Anyone who watched this movie have any ideas about this part of the movie?

Again, it was clear Jonathan had many many issues, but again, they werent really addressed directly.
All in all it left me feeling weird afterwards, but recovered now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I felt what was clearly lacking was Jonathan expressing his REAL feelings towards his mother (other than his love).
Well, there you go. That is the crux of the entire thing. (I've said this before, Wendy, but you would make an excellent therapist).

It wouldn't even matter if he EXPRESSED his more complicated feelings. The problem for him was that he had no idea he even HAS them. That is in my opinion, largely responsible for his DP.

In addition to the clear dissociative traits in the whole damn family, they also consistently were not dealing with at least HALF of their own feelings. SPlitting was their modus operandi. The son only adored/cherished his mother (but clearly, the rage and sado-masochism that their relationship spurred was played out elsehwere, just disavowed as connected to his feelings for HER)

I agree that the mother was not schizophrenic. Clearly, she had psychotic episodes, and she almost seemed to live in a chronic regression.

My HUNCH (and there is no way at all to know, only total presumption here) is that there was SOME abuse in her background, but that the way she chose to "remember' it was very altered. I think she had created a mythic representation for what really happened - a "filter" almost and likely in her own imagination she made it even MORE dramatic as a disguise. But I agree that the grandfather had two sides to him. Again, the disavowal, the split off components of Self...the entire family did it.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this movie, too. It IS very disturbing - and I'm not suggesting anyone go see it. But I do NOT think the DP references are likely to invoke any bad feelings in anyone. It's the other stuff that is creepy and very unsettling.
 

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hey i kind of want to see this movie, where can i see it?

but i also am interested in making my own. Im 17/female and i am hoping to become a filmmaker. Im going to a film camp in 2 weeks i am so excited :)!

i use to think i have dp/dr but i think its just high anxiety and lack of sleep but im still not positive its just that.

Ive been interested in making a dp/dr film for a long time.

i know its very hard to explain to people and tell them exactly what dp/dr is like, its hard to understand things if you dont experience it yourself.

share any thoughts/ideas
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Grr! As cool as it sounds that someone kind of recognises DP on-screen, why oh why is it always linked to horrific past events in people's lives?
I know a lot of people have suffered terribly and that caused their DP/DR among other things... But what about those people who just "woke up" with DP/DR one morning, without having smoked/aken anything or suffered any kind of abuse or horrific event??? Those who are just naturally anxious...

I don't know which category I'd put myself into, but I still think a film needs to be made (Yeh Janine!!) about those people with issues that don't stem from years of physical/mental abuse and drugs!
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
See, I don't think this boy (the one who made the film) suffers DP because of horrific abuse at all. It's a very intricate thing to disentangle when someone comes from a very DRAMATIC background (a highly disturbed psychotic mother, lots of odd and troubling experiences in childhood, etc.)

But looking at DP from a purely psychological perspectivee, it's VERY rarely that any particular Trauma brings on the dp.

Instead, as is my HUNCH about this boy in the film, he has so many unresolved CONFLICTS inside himself that he splits off part of his "ME" from the rest of his (acceptable) ME.

He makes the movie almost a tribute to his beloved mother. He sees her VERY rigidly as a victim, as a child almost whom he must protect and nurture. While that's lovely, lol....it's not real. He also has a lot of hatred and rage towards her, and there is a very unsettling little piece of footage (from a home movie) that he made when he was about 12. He was dressed up in her clothes and a wig, doing a "drag queen" dramatic monologue about a woman who had been raped.

The crystal clear (to me, anyway, lol) WISH to degrade her and punish her (and screw her) was "transformed" into his BECOMING a woman in that skit...he took on the sado-masochistic role - both parts - and played it out all alone, keeping mother's image pristine and remaining only loved and respected.

But the boy himself has NO idea all that is churning. He is holding on very tightly to seeing her ONE way only - the black and white thinking, splitting, etc. And my hunch is that is what his dp is about. Self-lies. Self-deceptions. That's the source of much of these kinds of symptoms, not actual trauma.
 

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i agree with you rocksy, i was thinking about that, how some people with dp/dr get it from drugs(how i believe i got it) or just somehow developed it without knowing how or why. and this person is showing that he got dp/dr from traumitizing experiences.
 

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Oh, this place is addicting! 8)

An interesting observation by a friend. I got in touch with my oldest friend, we've literally known each other since babies and are both 46. We've kept in touch on and off all these years. She lives far away from me and has for years.

I contacted her re: my recent move. She of all things saw "Tarnation". An intersting POV she has. She remembers the scene where this kid dresses up like a woman and acts flamboyantly (is it more than once?). Well, my friend is gay, she saw the behavior, knowing gay men and women (but having to keep her sexuality a secret from her mother ... everyong but her sister), as being simply being gay. He indicates somewhere, in an interview that he knew he was gay since childhood. My friend did as well (felt gay since she can remember, was never interested in boys, ever, only girls/women).. and I guarantee came from a FUNCTIONAL family -- nothng like this one in the documentary.

Wendy, curious of your POV on that one. My friend said, and I forgot this ... I'm avoiding the darned thing and it's out on DVD now .... that Cahuouette sp?! is gay. And perhaps more ... of flamboyant, theatrical kind.

She said he would be the ultimate gay person to end up in theatre or the like. Like a Harvey Firestein... I can't spell anyone's name today.

Again, I haven't seen the thing. But I found it a weird coincidence that she mentioned this.

She felt that the mother in Tarnation was seriously ill and as people here have said, the family all dysfunctional and ill on some level. Without having seen it, it reminds me of the documentary "Crumb" about Harry Crumb the illustrator whose family was severely mentally ill. He is "eccentric". But I believe his mother and at least one sibling (Actually two) are schizophrenic.

She also noted, that John... is that his name?.... was amazing... or it was incredible that a kid had the presense of mind to be recording all of this from such an early age. A fascinating person to say the least.

My friend has absolutely no clue what DP is, so we didn't discuss that, even though she knows I have it. But the gay angle was interesting.

I am literally terrified to see this film. But I WANT to see it.

Seems scary to me. And I'm usually up for seeing all of these films to give them a critical eye.

D
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't know...personally the only really disturbing episode in that movie for me was the mother with the pumpkin. That freaked me out a little. I liked the rest of it, and (sorry hun:) but is that guy ever good-looking:)

If you like movies like Requiem for a Dream, Pi, and Spun, then this movie is for you...
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dreamer, trust me, you saw THE CELL (more than ONCE!, lol). Little ol' Tarnation is not going to even make you blink. I promise.

The only reason I'm being cautious here re: recommending it is that I know there are many Board members who have obsessions and terrors about being psychotic. To those folks, seeing someone who is clearly in the middle of a psychotic break (the mother) would very likely make them highly highly anxious.

If "madness" doesn't scare someone, then by all means go see it. It's fascinating.

And yes, John C is gay, VERY gay, lol...but the "drag" scene/monologue when he was a young boy is about ALOT more than gayness. And this is where we diverge (into a wood? lol). I have psychoanalytic eyes on it, on his acting out, etc. and his grandiosity and his sadomasochism, and I realize that is not stuff you will buy into..

But in a totally OBJECTIVE, non theory way, I can promise you that the movie will not freak you out, D.

And I agree with Sarah re: if you like Requiem and Pi, then this is right up your alley. I actually found Requieum much more troubling and harder to watch than Tarnation.

Peace,
Janine
 
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