A cure for fear

14 minutes

Take the Five

3 minutes

EXCLUSIVE

Sundays with Riki

19 minutes

Random events

31 minutes

Las del diente

5 minutes

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Can you cure a phobia by medically rewriting the original fear memory?

Far from pure recollections of the past, human memories are imperfect, emotional and inevitably intertwined with our habits and learned behaviours. Based on her understanding of memories as fundamentally alterable, the Dutch clinical psychologist Merel Kindt has developed an experimental and unusual – although very promising – treatment for phobias and emotional traumas that trigger a detrimental fear response. In Kindt’s laboratory at the University of Amsterdam, patients terrify themselves via controlled exposures to what they fear most – everything from mice to memories of war. After experiencing intense fear, they ingest a beta-blocker called propranolol and, in doing so, aim to change the neurological structure of the fear-memory to make it benign. This is the first in the US director Lana Wilson’s four-part documentary series A Cure for Fear, which explores fear in the context of Kindt’s potentially revolutionary treatment. This instalment sees patients with phobias of cats and spiders attempting to get their terrors under control. Watch the other three instalments at Topic.

Director: Lana Wilson

Producer: Shrihari Sathe

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Chase rolling hills and windmills on a jazzy ride through the California countryside

Interstate 5, the primary highway on the West Coast of the United States, runs for more than 1,000 miles between Mexico and Canada, through California, Oregon and Washington. In this experimental short film, the US filmmaker Conner Griffith takes the Californian stretches of the highway, and flips, spins, intercuts and speeds them up to exhilarating effect, set to a vigorous rendition of Take the ‘A’ Train, performed by the US jazz pianist Richard Tee. The video cleverly juxtaposes quintessentially East Coast urban music with West Coast rural imagery but, more than anything, it’s a wildly fun ride.

Video by Conner Griffith

Score: Richard Tee – Take the A Train

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‘You wanna get rid of me?’ When the time comes to move mom into assisted living

During their weekly Sunday breakfast together, Ivy discovers that her octogenarian mother Riki is losing her memory. Soon after, Ivy decides that Riki would be better off moving out of the cozy Brooklyn apartment where she lives alone, and into an assisted living community in the Bronx, closer to Ivy’s own home. But, of course, when it comes to big family decisions, nothing is ever quite that easy. Ivy is making the request out of love, but Riki – resistant every step of the way – thinks her daughter is being controlling. When the time for a trial run at the community arrives, Ivy’s siblings start to question whether the move is premature, while Riki’s neighbours suggest that she’ll never be back. These delicate interpersonal dynamics are skilfully explored in this short documentary by New York-based filmmaker Brandon Barr. A tender and intimate portrait of ageing and the complexities of familial love, Sundays with Riki is likely to resonate with anyone who has helped to care for – or just cares about – an elderly relative.

Director: Brandon Barr

Producer: Max Mooney

Colourist: Anthony Riso

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A classic film finds order in randomness with the aid of some improbably elaborate sets

The Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) was formed in 1956 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the mission to create science-education materials for US high-school classrooms. In this PSSC film from 1961, the physics professors J N Patterson Hume and Donald Ivey of the University of Toronto deploy their expertise – as well as some seriously elaborate sets – to demonstrate how, with enough data, highly predictable patterns can emerge from unpredictable events. This version of Random Events has been visually and aurally enhanced by the Aeon Video team. For more elaborate educational wizardry from the PSSC, watch Frames of Reference.

Director: John Friedman

Visual restoration: Tamur Qutab

Audio restoration: Adam D’Arpino

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A magical mystery trip through the complex connections in women’s bodies

‘Girls are weird. Babies are weird. Bodies are extra weird,’ says the Spanish animator Ana Pérez López. In Las del Diente, she uses excerpts from candid conversations with three women as a canvas for a refreshingly honest and unapologetic meditation on modern womanhood. The anecdotes are enriched with hallucinatory animated sequences and percussive interludes, transforming their conversations about social pressure and biological anomalies into a surreal celebration of being female, in all its multitudes – from having your body treated like a business to contending with deeply conflicted feelings about having children.

Aeon for Friends

Find out more

Can you cure a phobia by medically rewriting the original fear memory?

Far from pure recollections of the past, human memories are imperfect, emotional and inevitably intertwined with our habits and learned behaviours. Based on her understanding of memories as fundamentally alterable, the Dutch clinical psychologist Merel Kindt has developed an experimental and unusual – although very promising – treatment for phobias and emotional traumas that trigger a detrimental fear response. In Kindt’s laboratory at the University of Amsterdam, patients terrify themselves via controlled exposures to what they fear most – everything from mice to memories of war. After experiencing intense fear, they ingest a beta-blocker called propranolol and, in doing so, aim to change the neurological structure of the fear-memory to make it benign. This is the first in the US director Lana Wilson’s four-part documentary series A Cure for Fear, which explores fear in the context of Kindt’s potentially revolutionary treatment. This instalment sees patients with phobias of cats and spiders attempting to get their terrors under control. Watch the other three instalments at Topic.

Director: Lana Wilson

Producer: Shrihari Sathe

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