Monday, October 16, 2023

Munchausen By Proxy

You may have heard of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. It’s a rare psychiatric disorder in which a caregiver, usually a mother, seeks attention by inducing symptoms in the child. Not the usual stuff of General Hospital or even the most sophisticated TV dramas which cite cancers, heart conditions and transplants.The Bridge begins with a body found in the middle of the Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Incidentally, this piece of engineering stands as its own majestic character in the drama that unfolds. It’s a tragic Shakespearean hero. Aristotelian tragedy is, indeed, the level that some of the episodes aspire to—with say the notion of "an eye for an eye" becoming the undoing of an otherwise heroic character. Sound familiar? The series was created way before the current war but speaks to it, prophetically. Iterating a few of its other elements which give it a haunting surrealistic quality, you have a female cop, Saga (Sophia Hellen) with a case of Asbergers, her estranged mother with Munschausen and a body whose upper and lower torsos would constitute a split personality if it weren’t for the fact it’s made up of two people. Sounds like someone took R.E. Laing's The Divided Self literally. Dali and Bunuel could have written the script which also undertakes themes like eco- terrorism--all set against a pattern of cables which alternately look like spiderwebs or the bars of a cell. 

read John Baum's NPR review of The Kafka Studies Department

and listen to Something Is Wrong With My Baby sung by Carla Thomas and Otis Redding

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