Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 6

A night of suicides movies, so let's start this the same way that both movies ended.

The national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. If you or anyone you know is having any thoughts of suicide, please call. 

I started the night with the documentary THE S WORD. That word, of course, is "suicide." It's a fearless and heartfelt profile of several people who have attempted suicide but survived. In particularly, it focuses on those who work to prevent others from take their lives. It features many personal stories from wonderful people, and exemplifies what I've come to call the central paradox of suicide. That is, that suicide is often called "a selfish act." Which may or may not be true, but it's almost never done by selfish people. The stereotype of the suicidal person thinking "when I'm dead they'll all be sorry" is, if I may use some salty language, bullshit. Rather, they think (incorrectly,) "when I'm dead I won't be such a burden to everyone, and they'll all be better off." That's as unselfish as you can get (also as wrong as you can get)--sacrificing your own life for the betterment of everyone else. Those who want everyone to feel bad are just assholes. And assholes don't tend to kill themselves. They don't die to make everyone else miserable. They live to make everyone else miserable.

And then the second film of the night was the based-on-reality drama, HOLDEN ON. Holden Layfield was a good, popular kid. He was a high school football player, and a humble, generous, friendly guy. He was popular at his school, had good friends, had a bright future. And as the movie tells us very early on, he's dead. He suffered from mental illness, which he hid from everyone, including those closest to him. It's painful--intentionally so--to watch him suffer and struggle, and for those around him to just be confused and not know how to deal with him. He starts self-medicating, drops out of society. But when he is around, he's friendly, smiling, flashing a peace sign. It's obvious that the film is a labor of love made by people who knew him. But there's also a bit of a universality to his story. I can personally testify--even if self harm is not a possibility--that some of the friendliest, most generous people are masking pain with their smile. #IAmHoldenOn.

Total Running Time: 194 minutes
My Total Minutes: 468,630
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