CFS: ‘Thin’ explores image

Marlee Morden

Body image is a much-explored issue in contemporary America. While the Department of Health and Human Services reports that over 30 percent of the population is overweight or obese, another 10 million Americans suffer from life-threatening eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Photojournalist Lauren Greenfield’s directorial debut, “Thin,” plunges into the world of eating disorders by chronicling life inside a treatment facility.

The Cultural Film and Lecture Series is pleased to present “Thin” as the next film in the “Women Take the Camera” line-up.

Greenfield’s documentary takes place inside the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Fla. Before beginning this project, she had previously been to this 40-bed treatment residence; her 1997 book “Girl Culture” includes photographs of patients she’d taken at the same facility.

This time, the Renfrew Center becomes Greenfield’s home for six months.

She gains the trust of the patients and then followed them as they wind through the recovery process.

Greenfield is given access to morning weigh-ins, meetings, therapy sessions and meals, all of which yield footage that has never before been captured on film.

The film centers on four female patients ranging in age from 15 to 30. Their backgrounds and attitudes are diverse; while some are desperate to recover, others are reluctant to admit that a problem exists.

However, no matter how different Brittany, Polly, Shelly and Alisa are, they are linked by their devastating illness.

Through their recovery process it becomes clear how delicately rehabilitation for an eating disorder must be handled.

“Thin” will be shown in the Connelly Cinema four times as part of the spring 2009 “Women Take the Camera” Cultural Film and Lecture Series.

The film will play on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for students and $5 for all other attendees.

The Monday night film screening features guest speaker Sam Menaged, the president and founder of The Renfrew Center and The Renfrew Center Foundation.