I don’t know what is going on here. Could be seizures. Could be sex. Could be a little of both, or neither. Maybe it’s pure terror. Maybe we aren’t supposed to know.
Seizure figures in here. I don’t know how yet.
Here’s a documentary film that touches on epilepsy, and the grim reality of medical practice contemporary Ukraine.
“The English Surgeon” is a 2007 documentary centered on its titular character Dr. Henry Marsh and his colleague Dr. Igor Petrovich as they work at a dilapidated Ukrainian hospital. The patients who come to Petrovich and Marsh are desperate, not only because of their poverty, but because of their dire shared condition: brain cancer. Many times, the already horrible disease is made inoperable by the patients’ often cost-related delay in treatment. More than once, the two doctors have to convey the truth as best they can: there is nothing they can do, and the patients will mostly likely die within a matter of years. Fortunately, this often isn’t the case, as proved by Marian, a young man whose tumor and resulting fits of epilepsy Marsh and Petrovich are able to save him from. The surgery is as much a success for the audience’s entrance into the story as it is for the cancer patient.
And more here.
Summary : Epileptiform events have been portrayed in film since 1900 and on television since the 1950’s. Over time, portrayals have not reflected medicine’s understanding of epilepsy. At present, it is unlikely that individuals who do not have a close relationship with someone with a seizure-disorder will witness a seizure. Because fictive and often incorrect images appear increasingly, many think of them as accurate depictions. The research addresses three questions in relation to these images: How do directors use the images? Why do uses of seizures in visual media not reflect contemporary scientific knowledge? Why have they persisted and increased in use? Data consist of material from 192 films and television episodes. The general category of seizures includes seizures in characters said to have epilepsy or some other condition, seizures related to drug or alcohol use, pseudoseizures and feigned seizures, and, a category in which, for example, someone is described as “having a fit.” The research demonstrates how epileptiform events drive the narrative, support the genre, evoke specific emotional reactions, accentuate traits of characters with seizures, highlight qualities of other characters through their responses to the seizures, act as catalysts for actions, and enhance the voyeuristic experience of the audience. Twenty video sequences are included in the manuscript. The authors conclude that the visual experience of seizures remains so enthralling that its use is most likely to increase particularly on television, and that as the public has less experience with real seizures, depictions in film will continue to be more concerned with what the image can do for the show and less interested in accurate portrayals. Ways to influence depictions are suggested. [Published with video sequences]
Day and Reagan would co-star together again in “The Winning Team” (1952). Reagan played the part of Grover Cleveland Alexander, a hall of fame major league pitcher who struggled against alcoholism, epilepsy and myopia (double-vision). Alexander pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.
Found this here.
Found more about the film here at a Doris Day site.
I have not yet seen the film, but the links above suggest that there may not have been any mention of epilepsy or seizures in the film based on the story of Grover Cleveland Alexander.
This academic paper from 1999 provides a comprehensive guide to one of the subjects of this blog: The Depiction of Seizures in Film. The paper includes the following films:
… Stairway to Heaven (12), Cleopatra (13), The Terminal Man (15), Megaville (16), Deceiver (17), ’Night Mother (18), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (19), The Andromeda Strain (20), Safe (21), Curse of the Living Corpse (22), Mean Streets (23), Romper Stomper (24), The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (25), Frankie and Johnny (26), Mesmer (27), 1900 (28), Simple Men (29), A Wedding (30), Face-off (31), and Drugstore Cowboy (32)
The abstract states:
Purpose: The purpose was to describe the depiction of epilepsy in English language film.
Methods: The list of films, developed by consulting several databases, film scholars, and neurologists, includes every film suggested by any source. By using the saturation techniques of grounded theory, names of films were sought until no new names were received. All films were reviewed by an experienced board-certified neurologist.
Results: Seizures were depicted in 20 films. Generally, seizures are used in film to develop narrative or enrich character. They serve four functions: (a) a principal character has epilepsy; thus the condition is critical to character and narrative; (b) a seizure is used to drive the narrative; (c) a seizure is used to enrich a minor role; and (d) a seizure is feigned to distract attention from another activity.
Conclusions: Conclusions can be drawn i n four areas: character, accuracy of depiction, roles and responses of onlookers, and the place of epilepsy in the films: (a) Epilepsy is one dimension linked with other aspects of an individual to enrich character; (b) Seizures are depicted fairly accurately, but their frequent representation as uncontrollable and violent is exaggerated and out of date; (c) In the films, the onlookers’ responses range from fear to taking correct measures; and (d) The presence of epilepsy is never arbitrary, but the function varies. Overall, the view of epilepsy conveyed in film continues to be distorted, sensationalized, and presented in the most frightening ways.
I don’t know why this 1974 Oliver Stone movie is called Seizure. Was it just that “seizure” sounds scary? Is someone seized?
Here’s an old trailer.
MS. McIVER grew up in Greensboro, N.C., a city with a grim racial past. Her mother, Ethel, was a maid, a devout Baptist and a single mother, raising three daughters (Beverly, Renee and Roni, the middle sister) in Morningside Homes, a housing project that has been torn down. Renee, who was born mentally disabled and with epilepsy, was a violent child, particularly during adolescence, when she once threw Beverly down the stairs.
The film’s web site is here.
IMDB is here.
In this documentary about China , epilepsy appears in passing.
These realistically filmed peasants include a family’s youngest daughter, who suffers from epilepsy and cares for her blind brother, and a talented art student, who foregoes an amputation of her diseased foot to save funds for her education.
This Toenut music video integrates a seizure into its story. It is called “Seizure.”