For a few years the strapline we’ve used for The Insatiable Moon has been Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s quote: “In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” It’s a reminder that one of the major themes of our story is that of madness – what constitutes normality and how far away from it you need to be to be classified as insane. The film tracks the journey of Arthur, who is a bona fide psychiatric patient. He hears the voice of God, sees things other people don’t see, and believes himself to be the second son of God. And yet he speaks a great deal of sense, and is motivated by love and humanity. Is he insane, or is he who he says he is?
It seems to me that a great deal of what we accept as normal in our world is closer to insanity than we’d like to think. The obsession with the impossible dream of fame and eternal youth; the building of alternative realities which we spend more time in than the ‘real world’; the craving for sexual experience to the detriment of love; the belief that each of us is the centre of the universe. In the society we’ve constructed in the early 21st century, anyone who speaks from a totally different reference point is likely to be seen as a threat, and dismissed as ‘mad’. Every religious leader in all of history could have been classified as insane if examined by a contemporary psychiatrist.
The Insatiable Moon is not a ‘message’ movie. It’s a story, and it takes the audience into a realm where the boundaries between madness and sanity are rather sketchy. Arthur causes us to examine our sense of what’s mad. He’s a character we can’t ignore, and so we’re drawn with him into a world where nothing is certain anymore. There is still much wisdom to be found at the margins of society; perhaps more than at the centre.