Drawing From Life is a 30 minute documentary about a group of people who have all attempted suicide on multiple occasions. Their desire for life is fragile and their appetite for death is strong. This is the type of story that needs to be told.
Drawing From Life focuses on a single group therapy workshop and mixes real-life footage with powerful animation. The film follows twelve people as they meet over the span of half a year. They talk about their desires, their fears, and try to make sense of it all. This isn’t a sugar coated portrayal of suicide. They aren’t all happy endings. The resounding message here is: “it’s okay to cry.”
We have become so used to ‘reality’ shows such as the Jersey Shore and mockumentary comedies such as “The Office” that our 21st century minds might not fully understand how brave it must have been for these people to allow cameras to track their progress or their descent. This is an emotionally thunderous documentary.
It cuts right to the core of what it means to to be on that edge, the challenges that people face and how they can work to overcome them and embrace life over death.
The film uses an interesting mix of cinema vérité-style shooting and simple animation that helps illustrate the thoughts and feelings of the group’s participants. I can’t even imagine letting cameras in to such an intimate exchange of thoughts, ideas and fears. And what’s more, the film isn’t even depressing, as you might think it would be. It’s sad, but there’s this uplifting message throughout about what it means to be alive. Kudos to filmmaker Kat Cizek for creating such an important and visceral documentary.
Drawing From Life comes highly recommended. If you only have 30 minutes to spare, want to see a great documentary, and come away from it a stronger, wiser, more empathetic person then this is for you.