Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Unrest

What science and medicine can’t understand, often gets stigmatise. Sufferers of ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome, has been the recipients of a whole raft of negative labels. From hysteria to yuppie flu, over the centuries millions have been categorised anywhere between lazy to mad. It’s an illness which disproportionality afflicts women. Which is probably one of the reasons why serious research for a cure has been slow in materialising.

Jennifer Brea was a healthy young woman who was balancing working on her PHD at Harvard with enjoying travel and adventure. One day, she was struck down by a mysterious fever. It left her bedridden. When medical science was unable to help, Jennifer decided to turn the camera on herself in order to document her condition. She discovered a community of fellow sufferers online. Unrest is their story.

Given the nature of ME, it’s almost impossible to imagine what it’s like to suffer from it. By filming her daily life, Unrest provides an insight into its relentlessness and the effect it has on social and family lives. It’s a powerful, moving and emotive documentary. It’s also a very well-constructed one. It’s hard not to feel angry. Angry that research towards a cure isn’t properly funded. Angry that even today sufferers are persecuted, ignored or ridiculed. Unrest should hopefully be a big step in changing that.

Visit the Unrest website to find out more and find screenings.

Previous Blu-Ray Review: The Fisher King (Criterion Collection)
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