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Blind Spot: Schizophrenia in the Family

Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 202-808-4980
Produced by Boja Vasic
Director n/a
VHS, color, 28 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Health Sciences, Psychology

Reviewed by Kay Hogan Smith, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences


This examination of family dynamics and emotions in dealing with mental illness focuses on driving as a metaphor for the passages one family negotiates when the eldest of two daughters develops schizophrenia. As this daughter's illness gradually consumes the parents' attention, the younger daughter, Vanessa, finds herself "in the backseat" both figuratively and literally - only sixteen when her sister is diagnosed, Vanessa never gets her driver's license because her sister never does. Through interviews with Vanessa and her parents (separately and together), one watches each of them wrestle with their anxiety, sadness and resentment - as well as some rather astounding differences in perception regarding the others' needs and coping abilities - before finally coming to terms with the illness and each other. As an adult, Vanessa not only learns to drive, but takes a leap of faith when she becomes the mother of a daughter herself after years of fearing that the illness might show up in her offspring. Although its mood is oddly detached, the film addresses vital issues for families of a mentally ill patient, and should be a welcome resource for family therapy collections. (Price: $250.)