Room with other doors
Passion and Ecstasy

Iranian documentary filmmaker Ardeshir Seradj has been making films in Sweden for several years now. Every one of his films represent his preoccupations. His latest film, Room with other doors is a documentary about Saint Jorgen mental hospital in Sweden sometime between 1800 and 1900. In this documentary with traces of sentimentalism, Seradj’s main idea is that every house or building can have its own memories the same way men do. In the first glance it looks like that we are watching a made-to-order film about this mental hospital that was built by the end of the 19th century. In a sense that is true but what makes this documentary different is that Seradj has worked with some elements of a narrative cinema in this film. The focal character or hero of the film is a building we know would be demolished from the very beginning. Then we review the building’s history while it is no longer existing. Ardeshir Seradj enters the unconscious mind of this building with his camera and portrays documents about those who once lived there in order to create a eulogy for a place that is no longer there.  For instance, when a narrator reads out the patients’ letters to heir families, we realize that what made them ill was their isolation and their need to communicate to those who had left them alone.  One of the patients likened the mental hospital to a prison. Based on the information presented in the film we find out that the hospital was located at a pleasant part of Goteborg and that when renowned architect Victor von Gegerfelt (1817 – 1915) was designing the building, many believed that the pleasant natural backdrop of the place would have a therapeutic impact on the patients. Others believe that the location was chosen in a way that the cries and screams of the patients would not disturb anyone’s peace in the neighborhood. Another reason was to prevent escapes.

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