The film develops over the course of a year, recounting the treatment of four patients: the evolution of their disorders, the setbacks suffered and the milestones achieved in an illness that is hard to combat. The stories of these patients emerge during psychotherapy sessions, forming the principal axis of the narrative structure. Access to these sessions provides a unique opportunity to shed light on a subject whose true nature is otherwise difficult to explore in depth. The camera records the stories, the confrontations, the memories, the feelings and the emotions at the very moment they reveal themselves to the person concerned, the moment at which they rise to the surface. We see people as they undergo change, suffer collapse, have their hopes renewed, help to heal others and receive healing themselves. We feel the profound pain, seeing it as it emerges and reveals itself, or sensing it retreat into hiding.
The therapist stimulates discussion, helping patients to express themselves, to open up, to understand themselves and each other, even when it is painful to do so. The film contrasts verbal and nonverbal communication to construct a dramatic thread that helps us discover what lies hidden behind the gestures, revealing what words alone could never express.
In some cases the patient is alone with the therapist, in others family members are also present. Tensions run high, following days of silence and communication failure in the four walls of home. Seemingly insurmountable barriers are slowly dismantled. Dialogue reopens, tinged both with suffering and with hope. The external manifestation of the disorder, based on a distorted self-image and on one’s relationship with food, shows its true roots. The film’s authors, from their privileged viewpoint, record the words never said, the glances never exchanged.
The film is shot entirely at the Centre for the Treatment of Eating Disorders, located at the Comprensorio di Santa Maria della Pietà in Rome.