The Secret Maps of Sad Men, a documentary directed by filmmaker and author Maryann Manelski (Running in High Heels, American Catfight) chronicles the private lives of several men after the death of a loved one and how they move through loss and grief and find a new life.
“After my father and sister died and after being a caregiver for so long, I became involved in hospice bereavement groups. There was an odd thing that I observed over the course of a year. People of all kinds came and went but only women and gay men stuck with it. Straight men would come, usually having lost a father or a wife, stay for a session or two and then drop out. The appearance of a new man - and the timing of his assured disappearance - became a thing upon which the rest of us could wager.
However, as time went on, with every searching man who found no solace in our group, I was moved by how alone men are in their grief, how they separate themselves, and how wordless and private their experience of loss is. It is as if the first rule of Fight Club, its omerta, is wired into their loss. What makes their situation more poignant is that most institutional support structures are organized around talk therapy and counseling paradigms. All that is vastly available is that which cannot touch these men or move them forward. Yet most men suffering loss do move forward. How do they do it? What terms do they come to with what has happened? Where do they find support? I am attempting to offer in service a film to loan men a sense of ritual, of example or even of instruction through the path of grief. This can only really be given to them by other men going through it and they are my subject.”
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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Feb. 14, 2014