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Mental Illness: Major Films  
TitleShine (1996)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityMental
CountryAustralia
Length105
GenreBiography
Rating4
DirectorScott Hicks
CastGeoffrey Rush Noah Taylor Alex Rafalowicz Armin Mueller-Stahl Lynn Redgrave Sir John Gielgud Googie Withers
NotesA boy's father is obsessed with his son's performance on the piano. As a teenager he is invited to study in America but the father won't let him go. When he comes second in a national championship his father despairs. The film intercuts between past and present. There's a good tone and evocation of the different periods in his life. Even before he leaves Australia the boy is beginning to show signs of mental illness. He wins a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. Father bullies, and hits him and uses emotional blackmail. But he goes to London. Easily led astray he lives as a starving artist in a garret but has a dedicated teacher. Gielgud the teacher has gamey, left hand?? I don't know why though Gielgud was 94 years old at the time of the film being made. At a concert he collapses after playing Rachimaninov 3 and returns to Australia and mental hospital. But later he makes an acclaimed comeback. The film is disturbing and not easy watching but done well enough it's worth the effort. And the portrayal of mental decline is revealed by both the actors playing David Helfgott.

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