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photo Safety in Numbers
By Amy Harrison

With pathos and humor, this experimental drama explores the mental reality of a young New York woman whose need for control and order has made her a virtual recluse, obsessively straightening and organizing her apartment. No matter how much list-writing, cleaning and tidying she does, her mind threatens to slip out of control. A mysterious phone call represents her last tenuous thread of human contact with the outside world. Is she suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Agoraphobia, or is she just overly rigid? Is there a clear boundary between the two? While the character uses the minutiae of daily housework to control her deeper feelings of chaos and loss, this film draws the viewer into her claustrophobic world, and into the emotions that finally drive her to attempt a break from her vicious cycle.

A dramatic exploration of one woman's attempts to quiet the chaos in her mind, this award-winning video offers viewers an unusual and compelling trigger for discussions of mental disorders, and of the sometimes hazy borderline between normal behavior and "symptoms."

6 minutes
© 1999
Purchase $99 VHS
Order No. QA-372
ISBN (VHS) 1-57295-372-1

Awards & Conference Screenings
Director's Choice, Black Maria Film Festival
Mad Cat Women's Film Festival and Tour
BBC Short Film Festival, London
San Francisco Film Arts Festival
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Shown on Public Television

Related Films
OCD: The War Inside: Explores the causes and possible treatments for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, through the painful and occasionally funny stories of four children and adults with OCD.

Cuestion de Equilibrio
Panic Attack: The filmmaker uses time-lapse photography, stop-motion animation, and creative sound design to convey the emotions associated with the experience of panic attacks.

Different From You: As a result of the 'deinstitutionalization' of mental patients, people with mental illnesses now make up a majority of the homeless in many areas. This video explores the problem through the work of a compassionate physician who cares for mentally ill people living on the streets and in inadequate 'board and care' facilities in Los Angeles.

Step on a Crack: Six people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder describe how they have learned to cope through medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and mutual support.

Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website