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God Knows Where I Am (2018)God Knows Where I Am (2018)

On May 3, 2008, Kevin Carbone stopped at an abandoned farmhouse near Concord, New Hampshire, thinking that it was for sale. When he looked through the windows, he saw a badly decomposed body lying on the floor. That was a homeless person named Linda Bishop (1956–2008). Next to her body were two diaries that she had kept for the last four months of her life when she lived in the house. The filmmakers reconstruct Bishop's story through dramatic readings of her daily journal entries, family video and still photos, and the reflections of a broad array of people involved with her story — police, medical examiners, the owners of the abandoned house, friends, psychiatrists, social workers, an occupational therapist, a trial judge, and especially her daughter Cait and her sister Joan. Remarkably, a very busy Route 93 ran right in front of the house, and Bishop was close enough to a neighbor that she records seeing their Christmas tree from her window. A final journal entry ("To whomever finds my body..."), before she died of starvation after recording that she had not eaten in forty days, gives burial instructions, and includes her name, date of birth, and social security number. In the end, this poignant story is a complicated case study about the interplay between mental illness (bipolar disorder and psychosis), homelessness, medical privacy laws, patient rights, and family helpers. This documentary won 13 awards at film festivals around the world, and received an additional 7 nominations. I watched it on Netflix.

Dan Clendenin:

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