Selkow, Ben: Summer in the Cage

THEMES: Selkow, Ben
YEAR: 2007
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User: Anonymous

ORGANIZATIONS: Sundance Channel | Wesleyan
PEOPLE: Selkow, Ben
PLACES: Greenwich Village | New York City
THINGS: Basketball | Film | Manic depression | Menatl illness
TIME: 2000 | 2007


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Summer in the Cage26.10.2007Ludwig Nastansky

10/22/07, 5:43 pm EST
TiVo This: A Summer in the Cage

I’m not normally in the business of reviewing documentaries, but this one has personal resonance for me.
Short version: Do yourself a favor tonight at 9PM and check out A Summer in the Cage on the Sundance Channel.

Long version continues after the jump:

Buddy flicks come in all shades and flavors, but Ben Selkow’s film is probably the world’s first guy movie about manic depression. It is also an exceptional and deeply humanizing look at bipolar disorder, which afflicts roughly five percent of Americans… and probably someone you know.

Selkow didn’t set out to make a major film about mental illness. In 2000, the fresh-faced filmmaker begins a documentary about streetball at “
The Cage” — the famed Greenwich Village bball court — where he quickly befriends Sam Murchison, a 30-year-old former division-1 player for Long Beach State, and one of the lone white guys on the court.
The charismatic “Clark Kent” — as Sam is known to his fellow ballers — has just quit his i-banking job and offers to help Selkow build trust with the denizen of the Cage. But what starts off as an over-eagerness to help quickly crosses a line into mania. Murchison’s side obsession with getting an already-defeated Bill Bradley elected president with Colin Powell as his VP starts to seem less oddball, and more delusional. Within weeks, Sam’s mania crosses another line into psychosis. He ends up in a mental hospital, but not before maliciously torpedoing Selkow’s street cred at the Cage ...