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Dirty Filthy Love

First published on Sunday 14th October 2018.

Last night I had the privilege to watch the 2004 comedy drama film, ‘Dirty Filthy Love’ on the big screen in Halifax, organised by the lovely Sofia at the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax (thank you for the invite Sofia).

It was the first time I have watched it in a few years, and I had forgotten just how ridiculously laugh out loud funny the film remains, but still all these years later maintains compassion for the characters during some poignantly moving scenes. As I sat there and watched I found myself laughing at the OCD situations the characters found themselves, whilst feeling emotional at the desperation their OCD situations took them, because you see at one time many of those scenarios and situations were me, my situations and those of my friends, some of whom I was with last night.

What made last night’s screening even more special for me was because I watched it, sitting next to the man whose story was being played out on screen. It was truly wonderful to hear him roar with laughter at scenes which at one time would also have been tinged with sadness because of the impact of his OCD, so to hear laughing at his own OCD was actually something to behold. But it wasn’t all laughter, at one point I gave him a knowing glance when I recognised a highly personal part of the film for the man sitting next to me, Ian Puleston Davies.

Is there a place for comedy in OCD? Absolutely, provided the true suffering of OCD is not left too far from the viewers thoughts and to that end Ian and Jeff Pope (co-writer) achieved that admirably, alongside some wonderful acting performances. Slightly off topic, I have a very funny friend who follows me on Facebook, and I recall a decade or so back talked about wanting to write a sitcom about her OCD, but was nervous to do so at that time because of the reaction. If she can equally find that fine line between comedy and ensuring the viewer knows the pain of OCD then I hope she goes on to complete it (if she’s not already).

Interestingly, after the screening in Halifax last night I hosted a Q+A with Ian, well tried, he kept asking me questions, but at one point I did ask Ian if he felt the film would stand the test of time in today’s highly critical social media world we live in. Ian felt it would, I don’t know if I am honest but I do believe this, I believe we needed Dirty Filthy Love on screen in 2004 and I think we need it on screen in 2018. I would go further to say that the brief scenes that talked about treating OCD were far more educational than some of the OCD documentaries we have seen on ch4 and ch5 in the last couple of years.

Ian pondered if his OCD helped his acting and writing and if it did, would he swap those talents to get rid of OCD. I won’t spoil it by revealing his answer, you will have to wait to hear it from the man himself one day. But the film did pose a fascinating question, if OCD is part of us, or if we should detest and despise OCD with all our passion to try and get rid of it, which was the overriding belief of the support group facilitator in the film

Back in 2004 Dirty Filthy Love was rightly nominated for various TV awards, including a BAFTA, so I remain incredulous as to why the very next public screen of this film took 14 years.

Finally, as for the characters, be they on screen, in our heads or part of us, I hope they/we all find our recovery place and life becomes just a little bit more peaceful and boring from being OCD free!

Wishing you good mental health.