From Norway, Truls Krane Melby presents Grip, a look into the experiences of working in psychiatry in Oslo. An institution that has many methods and focuses, one is how people handle and physically stabilize patients without making them feel pain. Truls Krane Melby introduces his method of approach for the film,
I wanted to show how systematically one has to learn to lodge another person to the floor, and how technical these training sessions are, leaving little room for, or encouragement of, reflections around the use of restraint. A big chunk of the people working in these institutions in Norway are students who work part time, and this sort of work really requires every inch of your attention. As I wanted to show, these situations will almost certainly make the participants reflect around what they’re doing, but there’s still no official forum for reflection. It just has to be accepted. And this program is just one of many different ways to engage with the “users” (also something of a misnomer), that are rarely said to be what they often are: a program specific to the given institution, and not something set in stone and official. Hopefully a tad of this is in the film through negation – by ethics never being brought up, hopefully they importance comes through in their absence.
What I love about film is how simple the story is but it how focuses on different body parts in the mix of these training sessions and how they become entangled in the process. Since a film naturally looks for coverage of an area with different shots and points of view, here this film makes a round environment out of only one room. Doing so also allows the film to make the transition points of tension between carefree and strenuous felt on a greater level. The vantage point is from Sigve, the trainee, and how he starts to comprehend the emotional weight of what effects these methods can have on human beings even though they are meant to be enforced as a way to keep things safe.
One important thing a short film can do is present an idea that becomes a counterbalance weight to the limitations of the film’s shortness so it can adequately fill up the dramatic air of the story and the viewer finishes the film feeling like a sustainable idea has been translated on a level of efficient drama. Grip does this by leaving the viewer with a disparaging idea of the methods, but a mild acceptance like with what goes on will just continue even if it’s uncomfortable to bear. A viewer has to be able to imagine a story after the film with shorts and for this film, it could be the road to more unsettling and difficult ways of handling patients. The feature in the film is just the first step of innocence lost and comprehension of the program on other levels.
Still, the way the film shortens the camera’s compositional pivot to tensions in the various strongholds is fascinating. It’s about how a human drama can be conveyed on mats and how a young trainee can suddenly becomes seized by the effects of the hold and then the carelessness when it’s featured on an actual patient who does not know when there is a stopping point or if there will even be one. If a compliment can be paid, the film does not miss any of the points of change within the characters. Doing this along with getting the praise of subtlety is a bigger compliment.
Director and script: Truls Krane Meby
Producer: Sebastian Koren
Photographer: Thomas Waitz Knudsen
Lighting: Kari Finstad
Sound recording and mix: Bengt Öberg
Sigve: Rasmus Dahl
Daniel: Espen Enger
Trainer: Karl-Kristian Indreeide
Tor: John Kristian Hilmo