“The footsteps” (or “The footsteps on the moon”) is a 1975 film with Florinda Bolkan. The film basically describes a psychotic onset, hastily referred to as “schizophrenic” in many summaries.
A woman realizes that she has no memory of one day of her recent life, but reconstructs that she has suddenly interrupted a work session to go to a location apparently unknown to her. The atmosphere of bewilderment immediately poses the question in ambiguous terms: madness or conspiracy by someone who has targeted the woman for obscure reasons.
The conditions in which the woman is in the throes of a crisis and in which she runs away from work to the amazement of all occurs in conditions typical of psychotic beginnings: crowded environment, impression of negative attention on herself, alteration of sensations and interference of some images or presumed memories that suggest unclear associations with characters in one’s present life.
The woman then turns into something of a self-detective, and she investigates what she did in that time gap. Her story seems to propose the hypothesis that someone has stolen her identity and then somehow intruded into her life, in connection with an organization perhaps linked to some nightmares that are tormenting her, about a lunar experiment.
A simple memory of a scene of landing on the moon, or perhaps a movie, and revived as if the astronaut who exits the spaceship and walks on the moon were abandoned for an experiment of “washing” emotions on the moon. The ambiguity between memory, distorted memory and delusional invention arranged as a fictitious memory continues throughout the film.
In the end, reality will reveal itself in a very linear way: the woman, prey to a delirium of persecution by this organization dedicated to experiments in annihilation of the psyche, considered herself in danger and fled to a location to seek help or clues. , disguising himself and finally returning home, to sink into a long sleep. The characters she meets, and who are part of her acquaintances with her, are considered “false” characters, actually emissaries of the organization.
There are also other elements of psychotic beginnings. The changes in the state of consciousness, which determine the “holes” of memory, whereby despite the fragmented reconstructions that are possible over time, the person is unable to “emotionally” remember the other himself in a certain period, which often it feeds a delusion of persecution by an impostor, or of dual personality, or of mind control by dark forces. The fantasies, produced by one’s own mind, are perceived instead as knowledge from an external source: a simple “I feel tired” can become “others make me feel tired”, or “others tell me that I must be tired”, from here paradoxical arguments such as ”
This phenomenon, called robotization, consists precisely in a situation in which our actions, whether or not they are logical and predictable (such as eating), are experienced as an external programming, managed from the outside, with the consequent reduction of one’s mind to a “dummy. “available to others. Even unwelcome thoughts, such as getting dirty, experienced as “orders” can become “forcing me to get dirty”.
The less evident and often “central” aspect is also the emotional flattening. Emotions no longer travel following a “story” or a network of meanings, but are as if “suspended”, they no longer guide. The subject has a functioning in which emotional solicitations, reflex reactions and thoughts have the same weight, and therefore an emotion can originate from a thought, be imposed by it, while by itself it tends to remain “suspended” precisely. The elements in the environment, instead of being emotionally colored and oriented, are elaborated and associated, but in a “cold” way, and produce equivalent truths, with fantasy, reality, dream, past, present that merge, overlap on a single level . A wrong suffered years ago can become the reason for a stomach ache today, just as a glance from a stranger becomes a threat. The person, devoid of this emotional identity, feels emptied and “robbed” of his own spirit, to the point of describing “thefts”, “insertions” and “replacements” of thought elements, thoughts, emotions, instincts.
These symptoms are termed “first rank symptoms” and historically indicated schizophrenia over other types of psychosis, while a modern definition of these diseases does not recognize these symptoms as being so unique to schizophrenia.
Given the good representation in my opinion made in the film, I point it out together with others already described on this same theme, I remember “Slaughterhouse 5” in this same blog, or “Spider” by D. Cronenberg.

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