INSIDE OUT - Stories of Bulimia

Bulimia is known by the public as many things: a form of dieting; a “rich white girl’s” affliction; a disease overcome by Jane Fonda, Princess Di, Tina Turner, Demi Moore...

What bulimia is generally not known as is a killer, with cardiac arrest an outcome for an estimated 20% of the five-million currently bulimic in America, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Neither is it widely known as a disorder that affects women (and men) of all walks of life; nor as an addiction linked to issues larger than appearance and societal pressures, among them biochemical disorders, family dynamics, and sexuality and gender concerns. For these reasons, and the fact that the disorder continues to be on the rise, nationally and internationally, it is vital to address the disorder head-on—from the inside out, as it were—to prevent others from beginning the bulimic nightmare, to comfort those who are already in it, and to shed light for those who have family or friends who are bulimic.

The documentary is a mixture of interview and observational footage of these subjects, interviews with family/partners, and abstract imagery, accompanied by an original score, meant to evoke the wordless qualities of compulsion, confusion, depression, desperation, but also of humour and hope, endemic to the disorder.

Director's Statement

In 1999, my knees on the floor, my head over the toilet, I thought, ‘Someone’s got to see this.’ Not because someone had to see the gruesomeness of the act of induced vomiting—anyone can picture that—but because I felt that someone should see, and at last comprehend, the complexity and the pain inherent in the addiction of bulimia (in any addiction, really). See, I’d thought I was done with it, thought that all of the confusion and triggers that had led me into bulimia in my late-teens, nearly twenty years earlier, had long been resolved. But, no. After a seven-year break, I’d returned to it almost effortlessly, during a crisis. I wished there were something to read or see that would grasp the je ne sais quois of the disorder, but I'd read and seen so much, and nothing had captured what I was seeking.

‘In order to do that,’ I thought, ‘a bulimic has got to make the film.’ Then, I thought, ‘I've got to make the film.’ Of course, this was ludicrous, since I'd never made a film before. But, now, it seems I have made the film.

—Michelle Blair