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Electricity - surreal film makes disabled people more than victims

Electricity is a visually brilliant film, but its greatest strength is that it remains down to earth in telling an unheard story, argues Emma Davis

Issue No. 2433

Actor Agyness Deyn plays Lily, a young working class woman with epilepsy

Electricity aims to portray the “out takes”, which people with epilepsy experience.


Lily (Agyness Deyn) is a young working class woman with epilepsy who’s trying to find her brother Mikey.  

The new film Electricity, directed by Bryn Higgins, tells the story of her search. 

Lily hasn’t seen Mikey since they were locked up in a juvenile prison as teenagers. But when their mother dies, she is consumed with the need to find him. 

She regularly experiences seizures which leave her physically exhausted. They mean days of her life are missing.  

But her determination to find Mikey takes her on a journey from her quiet home in Lancaster to the streets of London.   

Austerity Britain is definitely a theme, though the crisis is never directly referred to. 

Poverty permeates the film, from the desolate shots of a beach near Lancaster to the growing number living under the breadline in London.  

Yet Lily encounters people whose warmth and compassion spit in the eye of the scapegoating that’s whipped up in our society. 

Insecurities

She also meets people who attempt to take advantage of her condition and insecurities. But her response is never resentment and she remains unmoved from her search.

Electricity aims to portray the “out takes”, which people with epilepsy experience.

This is done through abrupt scene changes and leaps through time. 

Lily’s hallucinations are harrowing and surreal. At one point a bird claws its way out of her mouth, and at another she drowns in a gel-like ocean. 

While Electricity is visually incredible, the film remains humble and down to earth.  

Lily’s story gives the audience a glimpse into the life of a young working class woman with a condition that’s rarely explored in film. 

The film is gripping and sobering, but it’s also hopeful.  

It shows ordinary people’s capacity to share and look after each other, even amid the worst troubles. 

Lily remains a strong, fighting character—not once is she portrayed as a victim.  

This combination of skilled film making and the telling of an unheard story is what makes Electricity a bit of gold dust. 

Electricity
Directed by Bryn Higgins
Soda Pictures 
Out on 12 December 

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Article information

Reviews
Tue 9 Dec 2014, 18:39 GMT
Issue No. 2433
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