When suffering has no explanation, what fills the void?
The Pain of Others is a found footage documentary about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin, long colored fibers emerging from lesions, and a host of other bizarre symptoms which could be borrowed from a horror film.
Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, say they have it. But the mainstream medical community says Morgellons is not a disease at all, but a delusion propagated and reinforced by social media. “It’s all in your head,” they say.
The Pain of Others is composed entirely of videos shared by a group of “Morgies” who have turned to YouTube to prove they’re not crazy. These women document what’s going on with their bodies. They share their terror, anger and confusion. They discover community and a sort of healing in one another – even as their questionable beliefs are reinforced in a frightening echo chamber of misinformation and quack cures.
Unsettling, funny and intimate, The Pain of Others is at once a body-horror documentary and a radical act of empathy.