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Cal Adler, MD
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Cal Adler, MD
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Publish Date: 10/31/13
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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'Psych and the Cinema' Combines Movie With Discussion

The UC Mood Disorders Center is combining education with entertainment, with the goal of stimulating discussion about such conditions as depression, bipolar and anxiety.

That’s the purpose of a new event, "Psych and the Cinema,” which will combine the showing of a feature film with a discussion led by a representative of the Mood Disorders Center. The first movie will be "Mr. Jones,” starring Richard Gere, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in Medical Sciences Building Room 5051.

The showing is free and open to the public, with registration encouraged at http://mooddisorders.ucneuroscience.com/events/.

"I think there’s a desire in the community to learn about mental health, and movies are among the media that most people are interested in,” says Cal Adler, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience and member of the Mood Disorders Center team. The Mood Disorders Center is one of 13 centers or programs of the UC Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health.

"This is a way to use movies as a springboard to overall education about mood disorders and also to address people’s questions and talk about what’s right with the movies and what’s wrong with them.”

In "Mr. Jones” (1993), directed by Mike Figgis, Gere plays a man with bipolar spectrum disorder who is arrested after a manic incident and enters a psychiatric hospital. Lena Olin plays a psychiatrist at the hospital who has a sexual relationship with Gere’s character (definitely a "wrong,” Adler notes).

Adler, who will lead the discussion following "Mr. Jones,” says he hopes to make the evening a regular event, with subsequent movies exploring other mood disorders  and led by other Mood Disorders Center specialists.

"We’ll see what the reception is,” he says, "but I could easily see doing it once a month.”

If that happens, there will be no shortage of movies to choose from. Mood disorders are a favorite Hollywood topic, and the list of Oscar nominees from the category is a long one. (Nicolas Cage won the Best Actor Oscar in 1995 for "Leaving Las Vegas,” also directed by Figgis.)

"It’s the human condition—mood disorders are common,” says Adler. "If we don’t have them, we know people who do—family members, friends, loved ones. And they bring drama to a movie.”

As for Hollywood’s depiction of psychiatry and psychiatrists, it leaves a lot to be desired, in Adler’s view.

"A lot of it has been troublesome,” he says. "Frequently, a mood disorder is treated as a character failing. At the same time, I’ve seen some excellent movies that have treated it very seriously.

"As for psychiatrists, they are typically not treated well in the movies and are often depicted as having inappropriate relationships with their patients.”

That’s all on the table for discussion, of course, and Adler looks forward to hearing what people have to say. He also is looking for suggestions for future movies.

"The point of doing this is to be fun and educational,” he says.



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