Hot Docs 2017: Manic

Cinema Axis

Manic_6

It’s apparent that Kalina Burton’s Manic is made with passion, care, and respect for the mental health of its subjects: Burton’s own brother and sister.  It’s also clear that an amateur is at the helm.  Burton has a lot to learn about pacing, structure, and focus.

The film opens with blunt white text on a black screen explaining the situation.  Burton’s family was buckling from the weight of the poor mental health of some of its members, so in an effort to understand more about what her brother and sister were dealing with, Burton sought out to uncover the story of their father.

The story hops back and forth between candid observations and interviews with her siblings and home video footage shot by her father in the past.  She interacts with her brother and sister, asking them questions about their mental state.  But there’s also an annoying abundance of armchair psychology…

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