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BLACK SWELL

NARRATIVE | 5 – 10 MIN. | MENTAL HEALTH

A man confronts past and present pains in a motel room.

This film contains scenes or descriptions that some viewers may find disturbing, including descriptions of suicide, and/or may not be suitable for younger audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

If you are in crisis, please reach out immediately for help. There are several resources for help in a crisis:

  • CALL:  1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center
  • TEXT: MHA to 741741
  • CALL: 911

But What Does It Mean?

EXPLORE THE FILM'S MEANING →

Even when we feel that we have a sense of a film’s meaning, there is often more to uncover.

Watch this video to better understand the film and why we selected it for the festival.

CLICK TO EXPLORE THE FILM'S THEMES

In this film, when two men’s misery came into contact, they pushed each other into further despair. Can you think of a time when your own emotional baggage impacted someone else? Free write around a time that comes to mind, focusing first on how you were feeling, second, how you imagine the other person felt before and after your interaction, and then third, try to re-write this history by providing an alternative ending. Consider sharing what you’ve written with the person from your encounter.

Meet the Filmmaker

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER

Jake Honig is a New York based filmmaker.

Website | Instagram

Your Turn: What did YOU think of this film?

6 Comments

  1. oremployeeengagement

    Powerful film. Something that struck me is I know in myself, when I need connection the most, when I really want someone to care about me the most, is when I lock them out, close myself off. That was a sliding door moment for the teacher and he didn’t take it.

    Reply
  2. Vicki

    V e y sad. There are so many people that shut them selves off and hide in their pain. Was hoping the teacher would realize that the student was reaching out to get rid of his pain, but the teacher was into much pain to see the hurt the student had. If only the teacher would have talked to the student.

    Reply
  3. Heather Buchan

    It’s interesting to contemplate what made him stop and knock on the student’s door in the first place, did he have a vision for how his own life would end, which did not have a sound track and wanted to amend that? What impelled him to go back next door after the shot? What was going through his mind then? Did he see a glimmer of lost opportunities? Are we as humans just either talkers and non-talkers? Are there people in between? How would they fit into this film?

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Very sad, all the what if’s I thought of.

    Reply
  5. Anna

    Wtf. The teacher is depressed, now you’re going to pile on survivors guilt. My guess is you’ll have two suicides in this hotel, not one. In my personal experience at the point of a suicide attempt, additional stressors will be the tipping point, not a wake up call. This film is almost portraying the phrase, “snap out of it, other people are worse off than you.” I think you made a mistake choosing this film.

    Reply
  6. Melissa Martin

    I have to be honest that it is triggering. As someone who has severe anxiety around this very issue, it was difficult to watch. Yet, i saw so many things in me. First, how difficult it is to talk about feelings of anger and disconnection or loneliness. Second, how important it is to try and understand another person, be there to listen, offer support even if you don’t feel you have any to give. I think the contrast between the older man wanting the solace of death — i.e. looking up at the white ceiling, which may have been heaven if it weren’t a popcorn ceiling in a motel room, and his need for absolute quiet, a tomblike silence of quiet, juxtaposed against the wanting to drown out the anger in the head of the young man with an even louder music, was very powerful. If we could only be brave enough to talk about anger with each other, and be brave to talk about loneliness, we would all feel so much more able to take on life’s challenges.

    Reply

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