I was in the theatre, a couple of weeks before the Oscars, watching a film by Oscar-winning director Alex Garland.
I was expecting it to be one of his other films, but this one, about a man with schizophrenia who is diagnosed with autism, hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was not just that I saw something that I had never seen before, but that I felt an overwhelming sense of dread that I was watching something that could be a disaster.
The trailer was so bad I couldn’t believe it.
It’s a bit like the opening scene of an indie movie.
Garland’s film, titled Struck, follows an autistic man (Paul McGann) who has cerebral palsy, or PPD, as his condition is often called, and who lives with his mother and stepfather in a house on the outskirts of Glasgow.
It opens with McGann reading aloud from his favourite story: a boy with autism gets hit by a bus and the driver tells him to take his shoes off and run.
“That’s what I want to do, he says.
‘Take your shoes off, and run’.” After the man says that, the driver pulls up and knocks on the door, then says something like “That was terrible.
I’ve been hearing voices, and I think I’ve lost my mind.”
He gets up and walks out, saying something to McGann: “You’re going to have to walk through that door.
You’ve got to get on with your life.
That’s what you’ve got.”
As soon as the man sees McGann, the camera cuts to a scene of the driver saying “I’ve just lost my fucking mind.”
The film was nominated for Best Feature Film at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, the same year it won the Oscar for Best Director.
It also made it onto a shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
I had watched it a couple days earlier, but when I saw it again the next day, I was still reeling.
The film’s trailer was as bad as it was obvious, and it was one of the first things I had seen in years.
But the trailer wasn’t what was shocking, it was the film itself.
The director and producer of Struck had never even seen it before.
I knew that it was bad, but it didn’t feel bad, I thought.
What struck me most about the trailer was the scene in which the driver says that the boy with autistic symptoms has to “get on with his life” and that the driver “has to get his shit together and run”.
It seemed to me that this was a deliberate act of violence against the boy, who has autism and is mentally ill.
I immediately thought of the words used by the film’s director in a 2005 interview with the BBC: “What I want people to understand is that if you’re autistic, you have a life of your own.”
I realised that the trailer didn’t really have anything to do with what was going on in the film, but what was actually happening in my head.
It made me realise how much I could miss out on when watching the film.
I didn’t realise that autism is such a sensitive subject for so many people, that many people can have an intense, even abusive relationship with it.
So it’s not surprising that when someone with autism is targeted and harassed online, it can feel particularly devastating to them.
In the film Garland and his producer, John Wettstein, play a man named Andrew who is an autistic actor in the UK.
Andrew is a regular viewer of YouTube, where people upload videos of themselves with disabilities.
In some of his videos, he is seen playing the part of a “man in the box” who has a bad temper and can be a bully.
He’s also described as being an “ex-motorcyclist”.
It’s his favourite subculture and it’s one that he’s been following for years.
Andrew, like many autistic people, is also diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which can lead to a life filled with isolation and self-harm.
And yet Andrew feels like a victim of this abuse because his parents were both diagnosed with mental illness and were also bullied.
Andrew’s parents, John and Lynne, live in the US and have autism and have had the same experiences as Andrew.
John, a motorcyclist, says: “I have always felt as though I was always on the outside looking in, and as a child I was terrified of being in a car or in a classroom, or even in the hallways of school.”
He also has OCD.
“There was always a very strong feeling of not fitting in, of not being accepted or loved.
I would constantly have nightmares about someone looking at me in the mirror and then seeing my OCD and my OCD symptoms.
It didn’t help that my mother had been diagnosed with OCD and had