Film Notes: Pieces by Monique Wilson (writer) & Martin Wilson (director)
A group of people living with mental illness undertake an art therapy class that transforms not only their lives but the life of their teacher. The class has been commissioned to create the backdrop for a dance performance, and during the process, they are interviewed for a documentary about the art and their individual stories.
The film offers a compassionate and nuanced exploration of mental illness, both for those who experience it and those who care for them. It is an ultimately hopeful story while refusing to shy away from the reality of that lived experience.
**Please be aware this film may contain themes and topics which may be triggering for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
About Monique Wilson (writer, actor)
Monique Wilson is a writer and actor, who was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. Her theatre performance and writing collaborations including work with the Fremantle Dockers, the WA Football Commission, Mission Australia and Fine Edge Theatre.’ Pieces is her first feature film.
About Martin Wilson (director)
With a career spanning 25 years, Martin Wilson is an internationally awarded film director based in Perth, Western Australia. His short film Martin’s short film ‘Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home’ has been nominated for several awards as has his “Coward Punch” TVC campaigns with world boxing champion Danny Green. His debut feature film Great White released in 2021 through Universal Pictures. Pieces had its world premiere at Cinefest Oz in August 2022.
1. How does the film portray people living with mental illness?
2. How does Pieces convey the experience of carers?
3. The film avoids labeling any of the characters with a specific mental illness. Why do you think the creators have taken this approach, and what is the impact of this?
4. Which character/s did you empathise with most? Least? Why?
5. Monique Wilson has said that, “there is ‘piece’ of me in each of the characters”. Which parts of yourself can you see in one or more of the characters?
6. The theme of Mental Health Week 2022 is “Where we live. How we live. What we’ve lived.” How does Pieces explore this theme?
7. What is the significance and meaning of the title, Pieces?
8. The film includes numerous metaphors and symbols, particularly through the use of objects. Which ones did you notice?
9. Discuss the idea of “brokenness” as conveyed in Pieces.
10. What is the impact of having an ensemble cast, rather than telling the story through the eyes of one main character?
11. What role does art and creativity play in the lives of each of the characters? What does the art therapy class offer those who attend?
12. Alicia sets up the art class to help others, but in what way does the group change her?
13. How has creative pursuits contributed to your own life? Is there an aspect of creativity that you have never tried but would like to?
14. During the film, various characters are interviewed for a documentary about the art therapy program. What are the effects of this on the audience?
15. How does the film photography create a sense of place?
16. What is the effect of the camera angles and camera shots in conveying how the characters and their environment interact with each other?
17. How is mood and lighting used to create mood and atmosphere?
18. If you have or are living with mental illness, or care for someone who is, what would you like others to know about you and your experiences?
If you enjoyed Pieces, then you might also like …
- The Perks of Being a Wildflower
- A Brilliant Mind
- Infinitely Polar Bear
- Black Swan
- How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright
- First We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson