An intimate look at the lives of people suffering from profound chemical sensitivities, by AFS-supported filmmaker Drew Xanthopoulos. A competition selection of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Xanthopoulos and producer David Hartstein will attend this special screening.
For the increasing number of people who are suffering from environmental illnesses, the world around them is full of unseen threats, they are allergic to the 21st century. For three families, what the average person would never notice could potentially kill them. Electricity, common air born chemicals, fragrances—any of these can send a “sensitive” into a horrific downward spiral.
In Drew Xanthopoulos’ stunningly cinematic feature debut, THE SENSITIVES, we meet three families struggling with these issues. Joe, too sick to care for himself, puts his relationship with his supportive but increasingly exhausted wife at risk. Twin brothers Sam and Nathan live with their mother, Karen, inside of a sterilized safe home they haven’t left in years and dream of being able to play the country music they grew up loving, back when they were healthy. And Susie, who decamped from San Francisco for a remote Arizona homestead decades ago, has found an uneasy equilibrium, but grows frustrated at the lack of attention paid to her condition in medical discourse. This painfully intimate documentary portrait follows the trials of these three groups grappling with a crippling illness for which there is as yet no name or common set of symptoms. Loneliness, isolation but also hope are common bonds these people have, hope for their families and future.