Discharged from a psychiatric hospital, Jacob attempts to resume his life in Edinburgh and control his schizophrenia. On a trip to the Highlands, he finds the charismatic Eva who claims to be the secret daughter of Ingmar Bergman. A love story about schizophrenia, this new film from director Tim Barrow has its world premiere online with SMHAF.
The film is available to view on this page until Monday 13 July at 12pm. You can join us for a discussion with Tim Barrow on Thursday 9 July at 8.30pm. Register for your place here. The film is free to view but you can support the festival by booking a "pay what you can ticket" here.
The film is includes captions for D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences, provided courtesey of Matchbox Cineclub. BSL interpretation will be available for the discussion.
Described as “a schizophrenia love story”, Riptide is a Scottish road movie in which two people make a powerful emotional connection despite, or perhaps because of, the turmoil in their own heads.
The starting point for the film was a conversation between director Tim Barrow and Professor Stephen Lawrie, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh. Barrow asked – out of what he admits was “great ignorance” - whether it was possible for two schizophrenic people to fall in love. Lawrie responded with a story about a couple he knew, who became the inspiration for Jacob and Eva, the two leading characters in the film.
Jacob, played by Barrow, has just been discharged from a psychiatric ward and is now living at home in Edinburgh and trying to manage his schizophrenia through medication, exercise, and regular meetings with a psychiatrist, Dr Lloyd. Out walking one day, he makes a strange discovery that prompts a journey to the Highlands, where he encounters a woman who is about to disappear into the sea.
There is a sense throughout Riptide that every event you’re witnessing is through the filter of Jacob’s disordered mind. Is Dr Lloyd’s office really as vast and empty as it seems? Is it just coincidence that Dr Lloyd, Eva, and the owner of a mysterious bag Jacob finds in the park all communicate using the same kind of enigmatic notes that Jacob sticks to his wall to help collect his thoughts? To what extent is Eva real and to what extent has Jacob imagined her? The film uses numerous visual and sonic tricks to disorientate you, its colour palette varying unsettlingly throughout, its dialogue sometimes distorted. At one point Jacob is abandoned without a car in the Highlands; seconds later he is back in Edinburgh, as if the whole thing has been a hallucination. Emotional confrontations seem to come out of nowhere. But there are no contrived ‘it’s all in his head’ twists; instead the film is a sensitive, often poetic portrayal of people who see the world in an unusual way.
Riptide is a remarkable achievement in many ways. It was filmed for just £12,000, a third of which was raised through crowdfunding, yet it takes you on an evocative journey all over Scotland, soundtracked by the distinctive voice of Mairi Campbell, whose songs evoke the memory of Eva’s lost mother, a Scottish singer who may or may not have had an affair with the famous film director Ingmar Bergman. The film took six years to make. As Barrow says, “Without a huge budget we had to rely on our initiative and experience. We coalesced our skills, gathered all the rare accidents, strange coincidences, beauty and inspiration from the shoot, and followed our instincts. Time became irrelevant – we focused on making the film we wanted to make… an authentic, hopeful story about schizophrenia."