“Everything calls for salvation” is the title of an Italian series just released on Netflix, based on a novel of Daniele Mencarelli. It is the story of Daniele, a young man who wakes up in a psychiatric facility and doesn’t remember why he was sent there; his family doesn’t talk to him and he is stuck there for seven days under a T.S.O, that a mandatory medical treatment.
At first he really seems to be the victim of a terrible mistake: he appears as a perfectly “normal” guy that goes to a nightclub with his friends and the next morning finds himself in a hospital bed surrounded by lunatics; the reality however is different: doctors reveal that the previous night, under the influence of drugs, he had a violent psychotic episode and attacked his father. At first he doesn’t want to accept his condition: he is so scared of being labelled as “crazy” and tries to convey to other patients that he is not like them.
The issue of mental illness is often a taboo in our society that tends to stigmatize it or reduce it to a simplistic definition. This movie instead wants to represent the complexity of this topic and describe all the suffering and courage required to face the fragility of our mind.
Daniele starts to establish relations with the other guests: Gianluca, a queer young man who suffers of bipolarism and whose father is embarrassed by his gender identity; Mario, a retired school teacher who previously attempted to murder his wife and daughter, and who sees a bird outside the window that doesn’t actually exist – he desires to be free of his demons and his feelings of guilt, trauma and loneliness; “Madonnina”, who keeps chanting the Virgin Mary; and Alessandro, who is in coma and is fed by his father and Giorgio that suffers from a serious syndrome since birth. Each of them fighting its own battle and looking for salvation from the abyss of pain; but they also assist and help each other thanks to a look free from judgement.
The component of love is of course present in this narration: Daniele meets Nina, the girl he had a crush on during high school. She is an actress now and receives hateful comments and death threats on her Instagram account; she tried to commit suicide and she is worried that someone will make her illness public, ruing her reputation. Daniele saw Nina’ s most vulnerable side and state of depression and fell in love with her and all her fragility.
From Daniele to Nina, they all are at the psychiatric ward to get rescued: from the long-lasting trauma, violent behavior and self-deterioration, from themselves and their minds. In my opinion, one of the best qualities of this movie is the fact that it doesn’t try to hide the flaws of the characters, but instead bravely depict them: they are fragile, considered “defective” by society, they made several mistakes and they are still doing lots of them. Their fight is a hard one and the process they are going through is not a linear one, but it is made of steps forward and steps back.
In one of the most touching scenes of the movie, during the funeral of one of the patients; it expresses the deepest meaning of the film and of the title:
“From above, from the tip of the universe, through the skull, and down to the heels, at the speed of light, and beyond, through every atom of matter…everything asks me for salvation. For the living and the dead, salvation. Here is the word I was looking for, salvation”,
says the character of Daniele who thenm mentions “the madmen of all times” who ask for “salvation”, “swallowed up by the asylums of history”.