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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Jonathan Hodgson "Camouflage" (2001)

Camouflage is a powerful film about children growing up with schizophrenic parents. Made by the experienced director Jonathan Hodgson whose work I have featured before, it mixes live action, drawn animation and taped interviews to tell something of the traumas associated with the condition. The filmed action is particularly moving: the girl's mum disrupting the family garden party or the girl visiting mum in hospital. Each piece of footage is blended into the animation, the symbols strongly etching the illness in our minds: monochrome room with bare lightbulb, garish coloured heads, slipping into the loo, being washed out to sea. I worked in a psychiatric hospital as a male nurse for one long summer long ago and dealing with the family was the worst part of the job. The film was made, as many superb British animated films were a few years ago, for Channel 4, by Hodgson's company Sherbet. The blend of styles is such a convincing vehicle for documentary films. And the director is one of the very best in the UK.

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