Directed by: #RamyRaphael
Written by: #DrewCoster
Despite more accepting and empathetic attitudes in recent years, mental health stigmas are still a terrible obstruction for those seeking to discuss and understand depression. Whether it be social or self-stigma, those suffering from depression feel an obligation to hide it, I’ve hidden it myself over the years due to my own feelings of shame and fear but even now I find it difficult to accept issues with my mental health. The power to Tears of Oizys, named from the Greek god of misery is that Ramy Raphael shows the strength and struggle that comes with confronting depression and how it affects our loved ones. This film tells the tragic story of couple Issac and Nina told through a letter written by Issac as he solemnly explains the inexplicable anguish he lives with.
As the letter unfolds, Raphael’s warm, inviting cinematography portrays these lovely little glimpses into Issac and Nina’s relationship, the love and life they share. It’s a meaningful juxtaposition that Raphael creates against Coster’s words, despite this beautiful life Issac has he still suffers in plain sight. Depression isn’t exclusive to those with impoverished and harmful lifestyles; it manifests itself in many ways; you can have everything you want and still feel this way. It’s an illness; it needs to be seen and handled in that way rather than be dismissed as a fleeting mood swing, “manning up” isn’t going to make it go away. Raphael’s film takes its material seriously but from this more personal approach, it doesn’t feel like a PSA on mental health, allowing audiences to connect directly to Issac and Nina’s experiences.
The camerawork itself reflects the intimacy and the chemistry of Chad Clark and Vera Clark’s performances while also displaying the subtly in how Issac’s depression is creating a divide with Nina, moments of happiness against moments of Nina desperate to understand what’s happening. Issac’s letter narrated by Andrew Galligan conveys so many different emotions of regret, guilt, and love as it becomes clearer what the letter’s intention is, it never treads into maudlin territory. The dual performance of Issac by Clark and Galligan is seamless you wouldn’t know there was a difference in voice and body until the credits revealed it.
Depression is something that many believe they are dealing with alone though Tears of Oizys shows that’s never the case. The film is Nina’s story as much as it is Issac’s as Vera Clark silently expresses the pain of how helpless one can feel watching their loved ones go through depression. Raphael’s direction displays serenity, struggle, and devotion in their life together making the conclusion more poignant and reflective on how these stigmas keep loved ones apart.