Fascinating Tale of Co-Dependent Affair
The Movie Man | Maywood, New Jersey USA | 11/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Opium: Diary of a Madwoman" stars Ulrich Thomsen ("The World Is Not Enough") in this fact-based thriller. Thomsen portrays Dr. Josef Brenner, a morphine-addicted Hungarian neurologist who believes drugs will cure his case of writer's block. Brenner travels to a remote asylum for women, hoping to obtain morphine under the pretext of conducting a psychoanalytic study. There, he becomes drawn to a suicidal patient, Gizella (Kirsti Stubo, "The Greatest Thing"), who believes her soul has been captured by the devil. The conflicted Brenner and Gizella begin a dangerously co-dependent affair that threatens to send them both over the edge. The film, which has won several European film festival awards, is in Hungarian with English subtitles. There is also an optional English dubbed track. Bonus extras include a making-of featurette and interviews with cast and crew."
Tale of obsession
Reader | Boca Raton, FL | 06/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is not often that one can find a Hungarian movie available. This one is not only available but has earned a lot of film prizes in Europe. It is a tale set is 1913. Doctor comes to an institution for mentally sick female patients. When he is not helping the sick, he is writing fiction. But internally, he is no different from his patients. He feels his life dragging on with no pleasure and happiness in it. While patients are subjected to the most torturous of treatments: cold showers, electric shocks, underwated submersion to mention only a few, he is lucky to self medicate with opium that is widely available to him.
He gets assigned a new patient, young woman Gabrielle who is convinced that devil is inside of her. She spends all of her free time writing as if hoping that writing is a remedy to her illness. We learn that Gabriella had a sick mother who she cared for as a child until her mother passed away. Soon after her mother dies, she was sent off to asylum. But her trauma of loosing her mother is mixed with strong sexual desire for the doctor who was taking care of her mother. Gabriella also feels guilty for wishing to run away from the responsibilities of caring for her sick mother and wishing to be married, as if marriage would save her from such grave task. Once her mother is dead, her guilt is overwhelming and her sexual repression takes over her mind.
It is under these circumstances that two people - doctor and his patient - meet. Internally both are dead. While one is self medicating with opium, the other is obsessively writing. They both need each other. Doctor realizes that his patient is a new source of inspiration as he appropriates her writings and turns them into his own, while a patient wishes that doctor hels her escape her own mind that is difficult to control and contain. Never have two desparate people needed each other's help more.
This is art film suitable for sensitive viewers. I watched film with subtitles but it is available with english voice over."