In Drew Xanthopoulos’ intimate and cinematic documentary, we meet Joe, a patriarch whose affliction is so all-encompassing that he’s indifferent to his long-suffering wife; and twin brothers Sam and Nathan, musicians who are no longer able to breathe outside of their real-life sterile “plastic bubble,” and whose mother, Karen, developed her illness when she was only 17. These characters all suffer from debilitating sensitivities to their environment. Whether from ambient chemicals, genetics, electricity, or even psychogenic reasons, the cause is not clear, but the reality of the effects on these individuals is undeniable. Fortunately, Susie Molloy, a quiet firebrand who is chemically sensitive herself, seeks to help. In her, those afflicted by this modern malady have found an advocate whose mission is to de-stigmatize this community, and in telling their stories, Xanthopoulos has crafted a film itself as deeply sensitive as its title suggests.
Drew Xanthopoulos is the director and cinematographer of The Sensitives, a feature documentary about families struggling with severe chemical and electrical sensitivities. As a cinematographer, he has most recently worked on Travis Mathews’ narrative feature, Discreet (Berlinale, 2017), and Kyle Henry’s forthcoming Rogers Park (2017).
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