Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be schizophrenic? ɔıuǝɹɥdozıɥɔs ǝq oʇ. Ever wondered what it would be like to hear voices or see things that aren’t there? ¿ǝɹǝɥʇ ʇ,uǝɹɐ ʇɐɥʇ. Have you ever had an opportunity to put yourself in their shoes? Would you want to? (noʎ ǝʞıן ʇ,uop ʎǝɥʇ, you know?) Today I want Ї ÆM ζΘЇÑζ ©ҐÆշy to tell you about (broken car window, yesterday) a movie called Clean, Shaven. ɹǝɥ puıɟ ɹǝʌǝu ןןıʍ noʎ. A dark ride to place most people would never want to go, but I think everyone needs to go there. It takes us one step closer to understanding a mind that works quite differently than ours. uǝʞOɹq ɹǝʌǝN. Though it may make you sick and disorient you, Clean, Shaven is a brave and unforgettable film. noʎ ǝʞıן ʇ,uop ʎǝɥʇ. Tread cautiously. This film may be brilliant, but it is also undeniably heavy.
Everything he does in this film, he does for her.
Clean, Shaven is a film about a schizophrenic man named Peter Winter who is released from a mental hospital (or psychiatric ward, as people should be calling them) and spends time trying to find his (now adopted) daughter in a world that is all but unfamiliar to him. What you will notice about this film almost immediately is that it not only takes us into Peter Winter’s life, but also places us into his shoes. We experience life as he does. Ї ÆM ζΘЇÑζ ©ҐÆշy. A world full of whispers and shadows and deceitful thoughts. It is jarring to watch this film, as each second, you feel more and more like Peter Winter does and less and less like yourself. ˙ʇ,usı oɥʍ puɐ oɹǝɥ ǝɥʇ sı oɥʍ oʇ sɐ sǝƃuɐɥɔ ǝuoʇ ǝɥʇ puɐ ‘sdıןɟ ǝʌıʇɐɹɹɐu ǝɥʇ ‘ǝɯɐƃ ǝɥʇ uı ʇuıod sıɥʇ ʇɐ. Reality begins to blur. 011001011101010001101110000101010011010. Careful, don’t step there. Loose board. 1001100.
ɥsǝןɟ ǝɥʇ ƃuıןןnd ʇdǝʞ ʇsnɾ ʎǝɥʇ ‘doʇs oʇ ɯǝɥʇ pǝʞsɐ ı uǝɥʍ puɐ
The one thing you primarily need to understand about Clean, Shaven is it uses sound design more brilliantly than I have ever seen (or heard) in a film. From the moment the film opens, we hear what Peter hears. It is a disjointing mix of radio static, cruel whispers, inaudible mutterings, and sounds that seem to come from another reality. This is constant, and meant to imbue the viewer with a sense of what Peter is going through in the world around him. ˙ǝıp oʇ pǝǝu ı ˙ןUɟʍɐ ɯɐ ı ˙ǝuoǝMos ɯoɹɟ ʇı uǝLoʇs ǝʌɐɥ ʇsnɯ ı ˙sıHʇ ǝʇıɹʍ uǝʌǝ ʇ,upıp I. To call it discomforting would be to sell the feeling short to you all. But in the same breath, it is brilliant. It takes you from the comfort of your own couch and puts you in the discomfort of his world. Light fixture, broken. Light flickers. ʇɥǝ ɯnsıɔ ıs ʍɹouƃ. ﾉ ﾑᄊ ǤԾﾉ刀Ǥ ζ尺ﾑ乙ﾘ.
Perhaps, trailer? ¿ɹɐןıɯıs ƃuıɥʇǝɯos ɹo…
ԵɧȝՎ’Րȝ ʝՄՏԵ ρɿՇԵՄՐȝՏ ɿՌ Թ ՅԾԾƙ, ԺԹՌՌՎ
That feeling you get while watching this trailer? That growing sense of dread and panic, as if you can’t breathe? That is the feeling of the entire film. The film works as a hand that picks you up in the first moments of the film, and across the entirety of the film, squeezes harder and harder, until finally, you cannot breathe. ý◊µ ªrÈ ÞýÎη૬. I enjoy tense films. Bumpy rides to God knows where. But Clean, Shaven is different. It puts you inside a life you never wanted to understand, but now have no choice. Sɯǝǝs ʇı sɐ sı ƃuıɥʇoN. We know what Peter WANTS to do. He wants to find his daughter. But we also know what Peter is experiencing, first hand. Broken. Broken. Broken. ㄎん乇 ㄎﾑﾉÐ 刀Ծ ﾑ刀Ð ﾘԾЦ ㄎｲﾉﾚﾚ ζﾑ刀’ｲ ｷԾ尺ǤﾉЏ乇 ﾘԾЦ尺ㄎ乇ﾚｷ. You have taken many cinematic rides before, but few have left you as outside of yourself as this one. You want what Peter wants. You want him (you?) to find his daughter. Yet, inside you, looming like one of his many hushed voices, you have one of your own, reminding you how impossible that is. How a world like this is not kind to a man like that. ⓣⓗⓔⓨ ⓐⓛⓛ ⓗⓐⓣⓔ ⓨⓞⓤ. noʎ ǝʇɐɥ ןןɐ ʎǝɥʇ.
11ყΦЦ κПΦЩ 0011100 ɧȝ ԺɿȝՏ 0111011000101 ʇɐ ǝɥʇ puǝ00
Now we need to take a moment to talk about Peter Greene’s performance. This man has been in everything, but I feel like very few people realize what he can do. Clean, Shaven shows us that. There is no performance. You are watching a schizophrenic man on a journey to find his daughter. Nothing about it says he is acting. ᵀʰᵉ ᵐᵒᵛᶤᵉ ᵈᵒᵉᶳᶰ’ᵗ ᵉˣᶤᶳᵗ ᶳᵒ ʰᵉ ᶰᵉᵛᵉʳ ʷᵒᶰ ᵃᶰʸ ᵃʷᵃʳᵈᶳ, ᵇᵘᵗ ᶤᶠ ʰᵉ ʷᵃᶳ ʳᵉᵃˡ ᵃᶰᵈ ᶰᵒᵗ ᵃ ᵖᵃᵖᵉʳ ᶜᵘᵗ ᵒᵘᵗ, ʰᵉ ʷᵒᵘˡᵈ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ᵇᵉᵉᶰ ᶳᵃᵛᵉᵈ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵐᵃᵈᵉ ᵃ ᶰᵃᵗᶤᵒᶰᵃˡ ʰᵉʳᵒ ᶠᵒʳ ᵗʰᶤᶳ ᵖᵉʳᶠᵒʳᵐᵃᶰᶜᵉ ᵃᶳ ᵗʰᵉ ʳᵒᵇᵒᵗ ᵐᵃᶰ ʷʰᵒ ᶠᵉᵉˡᶳ ˡᵒᵛᵉ ᵃᶰᵈ ᵗʰᵉᶰ ᵇʳᵉᵃᵏᶳ. It is the kind of performance that should have elevated him to superstar, yet somehow, didn’t. I would call it a tragedy, but the real tragedy here is the life of Peter Winter. A life given birth by Peter Greene. ¿ʍouʞ noʎ ‘noʎ ʇɐ ɥƃnɐן ɐuuoƃ ןןɐ ǝɹ,ʎǝɥT. A brave and heart wrenching performance in every way. ɧȝ ԺɿȝԺ ʍԹƙɿՌԳ Եɧȝ ʍԾעɿȝ. 634.
˙˙˙˙ǝɹǝɥʇ uı ǝɹǝʍ sɹǝʍsuɐ ǝɥʇ ɟo ǝuou ʇnq dn ʇı pǝuǝdo ı
I also want to take a quick minute to talk about director Lodge Kerrigan. This was his first film, and he has gone on to only make two others in fifteen years time (Keane and Claire Dolan), but his films resonate with a palpably realistic tone, and that fact that this staggering film was his debut blows my mind. ﾑﾚﾚ ｲん乇 ᄊﾉㄎｲﾑズ乇ㄎ ﾉ んﾑЏ乇 ᄊﾑÐ乇 ﾉ刀 ᄊﾘ ԾЩ刀 ﾚﾉｷ乇, ﾉ ᄊ乇ﾑㄎЦ尺乇 ﾑǤﾑﾉ刀ㄎｲ ｲん乇 ㄎｲﾑǤǤ乇尺ﾉ刀Ǥ ㄎЦζζ乇ㄎㄎ乇ㄎ ｲんﾑｲ Ծｲん乇尺ㄎ ﾑζんﾉ乇Џ乇. Clean, Shaven, like most films I recommend, is not a film you watch. It is a film you experience. A film you feel. It may take you to places you would normally hide from, but it shows you that there are lives, brains, and hearts far more broken than you. In showing you that, though, it has a way of breaking your heart, as most of the world’s most powerful art often does. Yellow. Yesterday. ʇǝɹƃǝɹ.
∀ ɻɑ⊥ʜєʁ ιƨ oиг⑃ ɑƨ მooᴅ ɑƨ ʜιƨ ƅʁowιƨєƨ….
So see Clean, Shaven. noʎ sǝʇɐɥ ןןıʇs ǝɥs puɐ ǝnןq sɐʍ pooןq ɹǝɥ. Or rather, experience 1001101000101001 Clean, Shaven. Just know that there are parts of you that may never be the same. But Hell, we both ᵃˡʳᵉᵃᵈʸ ᵏᶰᵒʷ ʸᵒᵘ ʷᵉʳᵉ ᵇʳᵒᵏᵉᶰ ᵃᶰʸʷᵃʸ, ʳᶤᵍʰᵗ? ʍԾՏԵ ԾԲ ՄՏ ԹՐȝ ՅԾՐՌ ԺȝԹԺ. So it goes….