From the opening moments of Cyrus Trafford’s new film The Voice in the Head the audience is engaged by being posed with a question: If sanity and insanity exists, how shall we know them? For the next 11 minutes, we are witnessing not only the lead’s contemplation of the question, but our own.
This is not like other films, and should be recognized for it’s uniqueness. The structure in and of itself is not linear, with no distinctive character or story arc it still manages to explore the topic of mental health. The Voice in the Head sparks a conversation about perception of the disease, allowing the audience to discuss within themselves their ideology behind the diagnosis.
Mental health has been given a dreary shadow of a meaning. It is often a subject that is avoided, causing embarrassment for those who suffer from it and forcing them to keep their troubles inside. This needs to change. That may be an idealistic hope, but Trafford’s new film is a place to start.
The story is peaceful, using beautiful visuals to present a subtle yet impactful film. Trafford never presents the thesis with a heavy hand, never hammering down on one acceptable judgement. Instead, the audience is able to focus on the serene elements within the film to explore their own journey through the question. It’s an important journey we all must take. It is our duty to break through the walls of perception to pave a new road for healing. It’s not always about the stereotypical crazy person next to you. It could be someone who you don't know who is struggling. The film allows the audience to have that glimpse at the varying degrees of struggle some people deal with.
There has been more acceptance when it comes to the world of mental illness. More celebrities exhibiting courage in their discussion of their battles, which in turn changes the face of the suffering. In their vulnerability they have become champions, allowing for others to take back the negativity and release only power. It’s an interesting debate whether society is finally ready to offer support, or those who struggle want to rise up on their own, but either way the conversation is being prompted. The words “mental illness” no longer bring up a fear of the “other,” and films like The Voice in the Head is helping in the movement for a change in perception.
It’s about accepting the varying degrees in which people may struggle, that they are not always the extreme cases. It’s presenting an image of a united front and the availability of support. It also helps those who struggle to accept what they are going through and to not be afraid of it. It’s not the dark shadow that follows us, but instead an element of our beings, and once we have accepted that, we can move on with determination and power.
Some audience members may not see the extent of the end result as I do, which is the beauty of film and it’s varying opinions. For me, however, this one was personal. I’ve struggled with the darkness within, and tried to pretend it wasn’t there by shoving it aside. The more you try to pretend it isn’t there, the harder it is to live with. I have been affected by the Us and We mentality from the growing community, truly realizing there is nothing wrong with me. This mentality shift has given me the power to take ownership of myself and stand up to those who focused on my faults instead of my strengths. The Voice in the Head is just another shining example of the power growing within all of us.
Cyrus Trafford’s new short film The Voice in the Head is a subtle yet impactful film. The film allows for the audience to dive into the world of personal introspection. Those who struggle find power in the presentation of themselves, as well as others realizing mental illness isn’t always black and white. It’s a film that perfectly adds just what is needed to the growing conversation of this sensitive topic.
The Voice in the Head is now available, and you can watch the film on Vimeo.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by London Flair PR