Electric Malady

In Films by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Rated: 5/5.

Genre: Documentary.
Director: Marie Lidén.
Language: Swedish with English subtitles.
Run time: 84 minutes.
Certificate: 12A.
Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide and depression.

BAFTA-nominated documentary, Electric Malady follows the story of William, whose sensitivity to the modern world has forced him to retreat to woods of Southern Sweden. Now, after spending a decade retreating from the world, the one-time student and aspiring musician’s only release from his symptoms is a foil-encased bedroom, and layers of copper-lined fabric, which shield him from the radiation that makes him sick.

His illness is called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) and it’s one that’s both poorly understood and often ridiculed, despite an increasing number of sufferers worldwide.

Director Marie Lidén’s moving and inspiring documentary gives us an intimate window into William’s world through interviews with him and the few people who still visit: his parents, the priest and medical practitioners. However, the film also serves as a reflection on sickness and health, and how medicine often fails those who suffer with non-standard illnesses.

Marie Lidén’s remarkable feature was inspired by her own mother, who also suffered from electrosensitivity–and the result is a compassionate and careful approach her subject matter. Never judgemental, occasionally downbeat—but never without hope—Electric Malady is a moving depiction William’s love of life, his determination to get better, and of a family devoted to saving their son. 

After having its World Premiere at CPH:DOX this year, and its UK premiere at Sheffield DocFest in 2022, Electric Malady was also nominated for the BIFA Raindance Discovery Award.

Electric Malady is in UK cinemas from 3rd March and will be followed by a Q&A tour by the director.