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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Un’ora sola ti vorrei (For One More Hour with You)

IntroductionUn’ora sola ti vorrei

For One More Hour with You is the first documentary film made by Italian filmmaker Alina Marazzi. It was released in 2002 and is fifty five minutes long. The narration is available in both Italian and English versions on the DVD, as the filmmaker speaks both languages. By editing found footage from her grandfather Ulrico Hoepli’s remarkable home movie archive and photographic stills, Marazzi’s film is a deeply personal exploration of her mother Liseli’s life, one which ended tragically in suicide at the age of thirty three when the filmmaker was just seven. Marazzi narrates, reading the words written in her mother’s diaries and letters, making choices about the images that accompany these words and there are also photographs of Liseli’s medical records from her admissions to various psychiatric clinics, all of which create an incredible cinematic memory. For One More Hour with You won awards for best documentary at the 2002 Torino Film Festival and at the 2003 Newport International Film Festival.

 

The Film

For One More Hour with You opens with an audio recording (in unsubtitled Italian) made by the filmmaker’s mother Liseli and father Antonio, laid down on a 45 rpm gramophone record, in which they humorously act out the role of strict parents with their children. It accompanies some home movie footage that includes the first shots of Alina Marazzi when she was very young. At the end of the recording Liseli sings the first line of the song that gives the film its title. What follows is primarily the story of Liseli’s life from early childhood through marriage and motherhood to the last five years of her life in which she spent time in Italian and Swiss psychiatric clinics. The film examines Liseli’s relationship with her own mother as she struggles to live up to the expectations of the time, in the patriarchal environment of an Italian bourgeois family of the 1950s and 60s. Her love of her husband and the birth of their two children seem to give rise to feelings of inadequacy as Liseli compares herself with her own mother’s ‘gold standard’ of relating and parenting. A move to America, away from her important social networks, appears to trigger the beginnings of her depressive illness. Shortly after returning to Italy Liseli is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and in the remainder of the film time is given to detailing her inpatient treatment. Her letters describe her feelings about the therapy she receives, including her willingness to try Insulin treatment and narcotherapy as well as commenting on the discussions she has with her individual psychotherapist about the role of her parents in the genesis of her illness. There is particular poignancy added by the film’s images of the postcards that the young Alina sent to her mother during her stay at the Swiss clinic. But most moving are the words that Liseli writes to her husband Antonio, telling him that she is desperate to leave the hospital and come home to her family as she “can’t take it any more”. Finally, perhaps as a distancing device, the painful truth of Liseli’s suicide, whilst in a clinic near to Milan, is reported through an image of the newspaper cutting that describes it.

 

Relevance to the Field of Mental Health

For One More Hour with You offers an opportunity to experience the challenge we always face as mental health professionals of knowing how to understand what is really going on in someone’s thoughts when their external appearance may not provide us with that information, or when they are bound by social norms that prevent them from expressing their innermost feelings. The contrast between the photographic depictions of Liseli and her written words, at certain times in her life, is striking. But essentially For One More Hour with You paints a picture, recounts a personal history, that perhaps allows for discussion about the origins of mental illness. Such as, when are the seeds of a mental illness first detectable? Does Liseli’s statement that she feels different from other people as an adolescent indicate that something might have been beginning to go wrong for her some years before her formal diagnosis. And was the move to America the trigger for her first depressive illness? Might her illness have been avoided without that relocation or would it have happened anyway?

But more than anything else, For One More Hour with You is a sensitive and very compelling biographical film tribute made by a daughter in search of her mother. The quest to find the essence of her mother is palpable and there is a sense that life is once more breathed into Liseli by the filmmaker through the whole process. Marazzi has been quoted as saying ‘I penetrated the magic of cinema, which allows us to call up that which is not and to make it present.’ (Pietro Roberto Goisis, ‘Quest for a Lost Mother: Alina Marazzi’s Un’ora sola ti vorrei’ in Projected Shadows: Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Representation of Loss in European Cinema, edited by Andreas Sabbadini (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 21-34 (23).)


For all professionals working in any of the schools of psychotherapy, this film offers an enriching experience and I would highly recommend it.

 

• More information about For One More Hour with You can be found at IMDB.

 

For One More Hour with You is available on dvd from amazon.co.uk

 

• Minds on Film is written by Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Joyce Almeida

 

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Comments

Re: Un’ora sola ti vorrei (For
Dear Dr Almeida I read with interest your review of 'Un ora Sola Ti Vorrei which I am writing about in connection with a film of my own which also deals with my mother's mental illness in the context of a family history. I thought you might be interested in it, here's a link:
http://screenworks.org.uk/archive/volume-4/on-the-border
all good wishes Lizzie Thynne
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About this blog

 

Minds on Film is a monthly blog that explores psychiatric conditions and mental health issues as portrayed in a selection of readily available films.

Please note that this blog may contain plot spoilers. Any views expressed are purely my own.

Dr Joyce Almeida
Dr Almeida is a consultant
psychiatrist working in the private sector in the UK.