String Theory is at the centre of Percy’s life. It is an area in which he has been able to contribute to some degree through his grasp of the complex mathematics involved within the theory.
His ability to think creatively in this world may (theoretically) partially be a result of Bipolar Disorder, but more importantly, his potential to continue to work in this area is severely jeopardized by the same affliction.
Percy believes the medication he requires to control his illness dampens the way in which he approaches both life and academics. His interest and insights into string theory launched his journey and brought him into contact with like-minded people. It also brought him a degree of respect for the first time in his life. For Percy losing the most important thing in his life in order to preserve his life is a very difficult trade-off.
Percy Paul is our doorway into the world of Bipolar Disorder and it’s through Percy’s struggles that we will illuminate this pervasive illness.
…unflinchingly pursues a deeper understanding of what Dr. Kay Jamison describes as a “life-threatening and psychotic genetic illness characterized by wide fluctuations in mood, energy, and sleep patterns,” in which “you are cohabiting with a self that you have no sense of, but you do have to live with.”
- Julie Chychota, CM Magazine, Canada
The feature-length documentary does a commendable job of chronicling the paradoxes of bipolar disorder. Those afflicted with the condition need medication to survive, yet feel most alive and productive immediately after going off their meds. Those liberating interludes, however, lead to depression, psychosis and, all too often, tragedy.
- Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail, Canada
For all his brilliance, or perhaps because of it, Icarus-like, Paul keeps reaching for the manic creativity that puts him at greatest risk… Grant's film captures the scorching effects.
- Henrietta Walmark, Critics Choice, Globe and Mail, Canada
On the first day the film crew arrives to begin documenting Percy Paul’s story he is playful, cheerful and charming. As he takes them on a tour of his boarding-house Percy acts as genial host. In an interview this day he proves articulate and curious about both the questions and the process.
A good day, but a deceitful one…as over the next 6 months Percy Paul’s bipolar disorder will reveal itself to be an ugly and supremely dangerous illness. In fact, it will be many months before Percy is again as articulate.
Percy Paul’s mind is complex, nimble and inquisitive. It launched him on a journey out of a bitter, broken boyhood and into the highest corridors of academia.
Percy’s unique and exquisite mind has the potential to further alter the way science sees the world, however, Percy’s mind can’t always be trusted.
Every now and then it betrays him, pulling him off the peaks of academic genius and down into a dark and dangerous place. In this lonely world the unnatural becomes natural and the unthinkable becomes reality…
-Trevor Grant, Director, Flight from Darkness
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