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By Alan Ng | January 8, 2024

Eva-Marie Kung’s Dysthymia opens with a simple definition. Dysthymia is a mild yet long-lasting form of depression that affects women twice as much as men.

Co-directed by Tim Willrich, Dysthymia is a spoken-word short film featuring a Speaker (Eva-Marie Kung) standing in an empty courtroom as if before an invisible judge and jury. The Speaker offers testimony about the neverending war with depression waged within and yet without exposing that war from without.

The Speaker describes the guilt associated with depression…and the guilt associated with hiding depression. The testimony ends with the Speaker’s eventual rise from depression, finding peace and empowerment.

“…offers testimony about the neverending war with depression waged within…”

The setup is simple as a film, with Kung’s testimony set in an empty room, switching back between two camera angles. Personally, I could have used a third, but that’s a nitpick.

Dysthymia is wonderfully performed by its writer/co-director, Eva-Marie Kung, who intimately knows and emotionally embodies every word she speaks. Her testimony is impassioned with each rhythmic turn of phrase.

We all wrestle with depression to varying degrees. Dysthymia shows that though we feel alone, we are not. Better yet, we can acknowledge it and rise above it.

Dysthymia (2023)

Directed: Eva-Marie Kung, Tim Willrich

Written: Eva-Marie Kung

Starring: Eva-Marie Kung, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

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"…intimately knows and emotionally embodies every word..."

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