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The Devil’s Pool: Madness, Melancholia and the Artist

Devil's pool 558
Is there a connection between creativity and madness? Does being creative involve a risk of madness or is madness a prerequisite for creativity?

Cecily Brennan’s unusual documentary addresses the long-held public belief in a connection between madness and artistic creativity. The documentary combines a dramatised section with interviews with artists, researchers and academics. These interwoven strands contrast the chaos and torment of mental collapse with the careful rationality of psychiatric research and the views of working artists.

Over the course of the documentary the film-maker compares the intellectual and measured observations of the experts, their words controlled and thought through, with a description of a descent into chaos and madness, overwhelming depression and stasis. Interviewees include Dr Simon Kyaga from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Professor Patricia Waugh of Durham University, the playwright Frank McGuinness and the poet Paul Muldoon.

Does society need to see its artists as outsiders?

Director: Cecily Brennan
Producer: Cormac Fox

This project premiered at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.