Hot Docs 2017: Unrest

A woman chronicles her and others experiences with chronic fatigue syndrome in Unrest. Harvard PhD student Jennifer Brea seemed to have a bright future ahead of herself when she was suddenly struck with a mysterious illness that left her bedridden. Brea would later learn that she was suffering from ME, more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Despite not being recognized as a disease by many, Brea finds out that chronic fatigue syndrome is not much more common than she previously realized.

In Unrest, filmmaker/subject Jennifer Brea documents her experiences suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, while also finding others who suffer from the condition. Chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t yet fully understood and a stigma attached to the disease, suggesting that the effects are entirely in the person’s head. Jennifer Brea sets out to disprove this sigma by interviewing various people with chronic fatigue syndrome and to show that it is far from a rare condition.

If anything, Unrest serves to educate people about chronic fatigue syndrome and the effects it has on people’s lives. Jennifer Brea began this film as a personal video journal and would soon move on to to using an interrotron-like camera to interview people from her bed. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome come and go, so it is a hard disease to accept, unless you are suffering from it yourself. Here’s hoping that Unrest decreases the stigma attached to chronic fatigue syndrome.

8 / 10 stars