Save Our Souls
writer/director   Marc Wiese
camera Ulrich Tyroff
sound Thomas Aufhauser
editor   Jean-Marc Lesguillons
length   42 minuts
format digi-beta
broadcasted 2001, WDR
Observations in a Psychiatric Clinic for Children

Filmmaker Marc Wiese spent four months with children and teenagers in a psychiatric clinic. His film tells the story of their hopes, their energy and their enjoyment of life, but also the pain, the relapses and failures. To capture the way the teenagers see themselves and their environment, Wiese gave them small cameras to use. What came out of this experiment were unusually authentic scenes that revealed the lives and feelings of these children; realistic pictures, but a long way away from any kind of reality TV. It is a film of subtle story-telling, but which conjures up images long afterwards in your head.

"I am holding you in my hand. With tears in my eyes I look down at you and ask: Will you be my friend again? I am talking about a shard of glass."

These words come from the diary of a 15-year-old girl, Kati. At age 13, she slit her arms for the first time. Six months later, she made a second attempt at suicide. Again with a sharp piece of glass. Both times she was saved just in the nick of time by a rescue team doctor. For the last four months she has been confined to the Lüneburg Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic. Kati is just one of about 50 young patients.

Christina is in a state of despair and at the end of her rope. If she goes into another room she just looks at the floor. She is afraid of looking at chairs, chest of drawers or toys. She is overcome by anxiety attacks if she discovers new objects. She suffers from a compulsion to show her mother everything she sees. In tears, she says she cannot stand this "feeling to show everything". She knows that she cannot fulfil this compulsion. The result: deep depression. Christina is only 11-years-old.

Sara was also 11 when her mother committed suicide. After that, she and her three sisters moved in with their divorced father. But one day the father never returned home. He disappeared with no warning, leaving behind his four children. Sara constantly dreams about her mother. Driven by her recollections, she turns to drugs, just to try and forget one moment. But this moment has become a permanent condition. In the end, the Office of Juvenile Affairs saw no other way out and Sara was taken to the psychiatric ward.

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