“when things get tight” is an intimate long-term observationof everyday life in the Basel Youth Psychiatric Clinic. The film focuses on two staff members who are confronted with the all-too-human: Social Education Worker Marion and Psychiatric Nurse Andreas. The camera accompanies them through their work shifts, during which they have to deal with their patients’ fears and suicidal thoughts as well as with the smooth running of the clinic’s daily routine.
The identity of the young people remains protected to keep them from voyeurism, but the reality of their lives permeates the film.
In times when entire documentaries are staged with actors, the two filmmakers Sulzer/Neininger refer back to the original means of the genre: they observe, using simple cinematic means to do justice to their subject matter. In this way, an intimate portrait of an extraordinary place is created without any lurid dramaturgy.