Seishin 0 (Zero)
The pioneer of Japanese open psychiatry retires - can his patients live without him?
Dr. Yamamoto is 82 years old and a legend. He was the subject of Kazuhiro Soda’s 2008 film Mental. Yamamoto was one of the doctors who, in the 1960s, revolutionized psychiatry by calling for the opening of hospitals. The majority of his patients—even those who are seriously ill—are able to function relatively independently in society thanks to regular visits to the doctor, who has been receiving them at his home for decades. But now these visits are about to end: Dr. Yamamoto is retiring to look after his wife, who has Alzheimer’s. Several decades earlier, he sacrificed his family life for the sick. Now he has to abandon patients who can’t imagine a future without him. As usual, Soda employs economical means of expression in his documentary. His film is very calm, even contemplative in a Japanese way. And yet he manages to encompass within the film an extraordinary range of emotions and pose a number of the most important questions.
New Zealand IFF 2020