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photo Stuffed
By Arwen Curry
& Cerissa Tanner

“The white sales have started...” is the opening line of this engaging documentary, as the camera tracks through an impossibly crammed corridor to reveal the speaker, totally surrounded by her stuff.

An estimated two-percent of the population are compulsive hoarders. A researcher in this film suggests that they may be characterized by extreme indecisiveness, procrastination, disorganization, and fears of throwing away something they might need — or indeed of throwing away a part of their self. While it’s been widely accepted that hoarding is a disorder on the Obsessive-Compulsive spectrum, this film notes that more recent studies, including brain scans, suggest that it may be a separate, neurologically distinct condition.

All of us attach emotional significance to the things we’ve bought, been given, or otherwise acquired, but some people just can’t seem to throw anything away. Stuffed includes fascinating 1947 newsreel footage on the famous case of the elderly Collyer brothers, who were found dead in their Harlem apartment in the midst of 136 tons of trash — including the chassis of their father’s Model-T. Yet it also dispels the stereotype that all hoarders are isolated elderly derelicts. The “packrats” featured in this film are young to middle-aged, and seem otherwise relatively well-adjusted. One is married and another is in a relationship (though it’s true that the third refuses to allow anyone to visit her crammed apartment.) This provocative program invites viewers to enter the mind of the compulsive packrat.

20 minutes
© 2006
Purchase $219 DVD
Order No. QA-489
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-945-2

Awards & Conference Screenings
Mill Valley Film Festival
National Association of Professional Organizers
National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization
New England Film & Video Festival
Pacific Film Archives Festival

Related Films
Worried Sick: The narratives of ten people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder show it to be a "shape-shifter," its symptoms mutating — sometimes erupting, sometimes controlled, but never quite disappearing.

OCD: The War Inside: Explores the causes and possible treatments for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, through the painful and occasionally funny stories of four children and adults with OCD.

Step on a Crack: Six people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder describe how they have learned to cope through medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and mutual support.

Safety in Numbers: With pathos and humor, this short, experimental drama explores the sometimes unclear boundaries between the behaviors of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and "normalcy."

Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website