Dir.: James Redford | Documentary | USA 2016 | 60 min.
First time director James Redford – son of Robert – charters the development of the movement based on the work by Dr. Vincente Filetti and Dr. Robert Anda, developing a public mental health campaign nationwide in the USA that focused on what they discovered in their research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).
The original research revealed worrying results about adults who were later diagnosed with severe physical illnesses such as cancer and cardio-vascular disease. It emerges that over a quarter of these came from homes where substance abuse was common; maternal physical abuse and sexual abuse also came to light.
Based on this research on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Dr. Jack Shoncoff founded The Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University and named this syndrome ‘Toxic Stress’. This is a condition that arises from the constant presence of adrenaline in the bloodstream that leads to adrenal overload. Over a long time period the condition damages neurons and increases the risk of major illness, affecting the immune system and lowering life expectancy by up to twenty years. In a world where adults violent and abusing adults children are losing the capacity to help and heal themselves.
Redford’s approach is naïve, to say the least. He ignores various social categories in a study that appears to disregard class, income and education. Episodic in structure the documentary feels incohesive with too many Talking Heads, and a lack of critical distance from the subject matter. Sure, there is enough information here but the films fails to convey it in an engaging or entertaining manner. Redford needs to go back to the drawing board. AS
RESILIENCE a new film Directed by James Redford will have a special screening at the Prince Charles Cinema on 27th April followed by a Q&A with James Redford, Dr Graham Music and the Children’s Commissioner