LFF Review: Evelyn

800,000 people take their own lives every year around the world. In the UK, over 5,000 suicides were registered in 2017. Whilst there have been great steps forward in publicly addressing issues around mental health, suicide and depression, they are still subjects which aren’t generally openly discussed and remain stigmatised. Even between friends and family. The dead can cast a lasting shadow over those they leave behind. Often in the form of guilt.

Thirteen years ago, Orlando von Einsiede lost his brother Evelyn to suicide. Whilst the British film-maker, best known for Virunga and the Oscar-winning White Helmets, has spent his career documenting the suffering of others, he’s less adept at focusing on himself. As a family, they’ve found it difficult to discuss the loss. As have Evelyn’s friends. In an attempt to confront his grief, Orlando sets off with his brother, sister and other family and friends on a hiking exhibition across the UK. Following in Evelyn’s footsteps.

Evelyn is an extremely moving and exceedingly personal portrait of a family trying to face-up to their loss. Most of us will know someone who has committed suicide. It’s a really difficult subject to talk about, let alone face head-on. It’s an intimate glimpse into how grief and loss can affect different people in different ways. How it’s something we need to come to terms with ourselves. Evelyn is an extremely cathartic experience which allows us to experience the healing process vicariously through a close-knit group of family and friends.

Evelyn screens at London Film Festival.

Previous DVD Review: The Monster
Next Incoming: Blindspotting

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