Being Hikikomori. My life in a room, a documentary out of reality

To stay on the sidelines, to isolate oneself, cutting out the world and reality. This is the Japanese translation of the term Hikikomori. This word refers in jargon to those children who decide to withdraw from social life for long periods, from a few months up to several years, locking themselves up in their own bedroom, without having any kind of direct contact with the outside world, sometimes not even with their parents. In Italy there are more than 100,000 Hikikomori. But being an underground phenomenon, there could be many more. Being Hikikomori. My life in a room is a Sky Original documentary, produced by Sky and Fidelio, written and directed by Michele Bertini Malgarini and Ugo Piva, broadcast on Saturday 29 January at 9.15pm on Sky Documentaries, also available on demand and streaming on NOW.

The documentary follows four young people: Eva, Alessio, Alessandro and Davide who have chosen never to leave their room again. They don’t have a purpose in life. They no longer think about the future. They have no dates on the calendar. They live for the day. Their world is their bedrooms and their computers are their windows. During the day, they sleep. At night, they live, isolating themselves from normal rhythms. Failing to have relationships with real people, but only online relationships where they feel less judged.

Being Hikikomori. My life in a room it is the story of 4 in their early twenties, of their hopes, their aspirations, their difficult relationships with their families and their courageous attempts to get out of it. Complicated lives stuck in the darkness of their rooms. The documentary traces a personal narrative path to tell the social-family-character causes of their isolation, the characteristics of their daily life, living in the dark as vampires, not eating, the loss of the perception of time, the addiction to the internet and finally , the hopes of personal rebirth.

Space also for other fundamental points of view. That of the parents who will tell their dramatic testimonies and their difficult attempts to create a dialogue with their children, in an attempt to help them get out, and that of Marco Crepaldi, founder of the national association “Hikikomori Italia”, which has been involved in raising awareness for years , support and training on the subject of voluntary youth social isolation.

The documentary is characterized by the presence of graphic animations: a graphic novel entitled “Deep”, divided into four chapters that alternate with the stories of the four boys, born during a series of online and in-person meetings with the 4 protagonists.