但我總感覺這樣的狀態似乎有些不對勁。大學時，我發現自己有些症狀而求助於精神診所，並被診斷為「身心俱疲症候群*」。即使已經康復，仍有幾次因為壓力過 大而險些復發；我也有些朋友和同事的確在心理上生病了，甚至走上自殺一途。事實上，由於現代社會充滿著各種壓力和孤獨，沒有人能夠對精神疾病免疫，因此， 繼續將精神疾患視為禁忌，使得大多數人不願意正視這個議題，是相當危險的。
在這部紀錄片《完全精神手冊》裡，我希望能夠除去這片看不見的簾子，不過不是以說教的方式，而是純粹透過觀察。身為一個紀錄片工作者，對我而言，最重要的 態度是，用我的眼睛和攝影機直視這些病患的世界，而不帶有任何先入為主或特定的想法，不為他們貼上任何「弱者」、「危險人物」或甚至「偉大」的標籤。如同 我之前的作品《完全選舉手冊》，我盡可能在沒有任何事前準備的狀態下，自由而自發性地拍攝。
by Kazuhiro Soda
In my previous documentary film CAMPAIGN, there is a scene where volunteers gossip about a 『psychotic woman』 standing right outside the election campaign headquarters in Kawasaki, Japan.
『See that woman standing across the street? She’s psychotic. When she was still sane, she had long hair and big tits. She called herself the Marilyn Monroe of Kawasaki,』 they say.
As seen in this conversation, 『psychotic people』 are often the subject of curiosity, excitement, and ridicule, among healthy people. They are not considered to be fellow human beings but some kind of creatures from another world who occasionally appear in front of us. There seems to be a transparent curtain that divides healthy and mentally ill people. Most healthy people see the world of mental illness as irrelevant to their lives.
But I have been feeling that there’s something wrong about this situation. When I was a college student, I myself felt sick and decided to go to a mental clinic, where I was diagnosed with 『burnout syndrome*.』 Even after I recovered from the syndrome, there were several times when I almost became sick because of too much stress. I also have some friends and colleagues who actually became mentally ill and even committed suicide. In fact, because modern society is filled with pressure, stress, and the sense of solitude, nobody is immune to mental illness. Thus, it is quite dangerous that mental illness remains a taboo and that most people turn their eyes away from the subject.
Therefore, in my documentary MENTAL, my aim is to get rid of this invisible curtain, not by sending political messages, but simply by observing. The most important attitude for me as a filmmaker was to look straight with my own eyes and my camera at the world of patients without any preconceived or fixed ideas, without labeling them as 『the weak,』 『the dangerous,』 or even as 『the great.』 In order to do that, just like in my previous film CAMPAIGN, I tried to shoot as freely and spontaneously as possible without preparing anything beforehand.
In the editing, I did not use any narration, super-imposed titles, or music, so that I can show the complex reality as it is, avoiding stereotypical simplification. I also tried to stimulate the audience’s active observation, leaving lots of room for them to freely interpret what they see on the screen. In addition, I tried to recreate the time and space I experienced so that the audience will feel as if they visited the clinic and saw these patients themselves.
MENTAL has no 『message』 nor 『statement』 nor 『conclusions.』 Rather, I want to make a movie that is as far away as possible from propaganda. It would be an immense pleasure for me if the viewers could come up with their own observations, thoughts, and questions, while they watch MENTAL, and afterwards.
* burnout syndrome: physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress: high levels of professionalism that may result in burnout. (Oxford Dictionary)