First described by Dr. James Parkinson in London in 1817 and named after him, this disease has not been fully explained yet, despite being a major degenerative neurological disorder. Over 200,000 people suffer from it in Italy alone, with approx. 1,200 more cases every passing year.
In the documentary, the disease is embodied by Ruth, a young English woman who has had to put up with stiff muscles, slow movements, tremors and all the other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for the past 12 years. “There are other times when you’re with a crowd of people and everyone is talking and laughing and joking and you can’t get your words out, you can’t get your ideas out, you can’t get your thoughts out and.. and that makes it a psychological and.. and.. and a social imprisonment.” Unexpressive voice and movements and impaired speech are other symptoms that make socializing difficult for Parkinson’s patients, who feel increasingly lonely.
In this long interview Ruth speaks directly to the viewers and shares with them what everyday life is like for a Parkinson’s patient. Then she moves on to describe a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): a device similar to a heart pacemaker is implanted under the skin to switch on again the brain’s motor circuits the disease has shut off.
The second part of the interview is especially moving. Ruth switches off the device and the symptoms of the disease take full control of her body once again.