A Decay of Control (2015)


22 Min | Madison McClintock

This film was my thesis for my MFA in Science & Natural History Filmmaking.

What if your cat was making you crazy, or a parasite was controlling your behavior and emotions? As told by an expert in the field, a self-identified “crazy cat lady,” and the story of the famous cat painter Louis Wain, A Decay of Control is a self-reflexive journey into new research on the parasitic disease, Toxoplasmosis (known to be transmitted by cats), and its potential influence on human behavior and neurological disorders like Schizophrenia. The story of this disease forces us to ask the question: what if we weren’t the ones running our own show?

Artist Statement:

A Decay of Control is a conceptual exploration into the the way we use film to communicate science. I experiment with a new understanding of documentary 'truth' that acknowledges film construction and its inherent artificiality.

By having a complex mix of fact and fiction, of staged and unstaged scenes, actors and real people, I hope to prompt the audience to reimagine and indulge a form of film that blurs the line between genres. How can we reinterpret films modes to spark interest and further exploration into science topics? What new meaning can be created by existing in this ambiguous space between reality and fiction? Like the potential of a parasite controlling our behavior and emotions, what if this film is not quite what it appears to be? What would that mean to us and our own assumptions?

*All research presented in the film is based off of findings in peer-reviewed articles.

  • 2016 Element Film Festival Official Selection

  • 2019 Labocine MARCH Issue (#32) A MODERN BESTIARY