Joker: Pathological laughter does exist! Cinema news

In his witty composition as a tormented Joker, Joaquin Phoenix also reveals a character with the pathology of prodromal laughter. As we discover that the phrase “to die of laughter” is not entirely without a basis…

Warner Bros.

Nervous, hysterical, defensive, immobile, strict, forced … These are not the qualities that are missing to qualify laughter. In the case of the Joker, it’s a crazy laugh; Crazy and painful laughter, each of the on-screen character performers strived to make their own laugh.

We remember, of course, the mention of Jack Nicholson. This, astonishing and disturbing, from Heath Ledger, is unusual in The Dark Knight. We must now also consider Joaquin Phoenix, who is phenomenal in his role. A role he confides in after questioning himself for a long time before accepting it.

“If I can’t find the Joker’s laugh, I might drop it too!” The actor explained in an interview with Première magazine, in its September 2019 issue. I called Todd to ask him to come home: ‘I’ll try to laugh in front of you, so if that doesn’t work, we’ll fix it’. He came, and it was so awkward, because he was on the sofa watching me, and it took me a quarter of an hour to get that damned laugh. He told me, “You know, it doesn’t matter if you can’t do it. You already have the role.” But I wanted to do that. to make sure. It was one of the defining moments.”

Below, a small selection of his laughs, edited from the trailers…

To find inspiration, the actor admitted that he spent hours watching videos of patients with personality disorders. “I’ve seen videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes people laugh uncontrollably”. This disease has a name: prodromal laughter.

Gesture laughter, késako?

It was first described in nervous review In 1903 by Charles Féré (1852-1907), a French neurologist who practiced at Bicêtre Hospital, the disorder refers to an irresistible and meaningless pathological laughter, announcing the occurrence of a stroke. In France, this disease was recently mentioned by neurologists from the University Hospital of Rouen, in an article published on the Internet on September 21, 2018 in Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Le rire pathologique s’observe notamment en cas de sclérose en plaques, de paralysie pseudobulbaire (par atteinte du bulbe rachidien qui relie le cerveau et la moelle épinière), de tumeur, de sclérose latéraique latérale de lérative amyo trophé amyo Bone marrow).

Meanwhile, “pathological laughter” occurs as the first manifestation of a stroke. These are transient symptoms that last from a few seconds to 30 minutes. It can be seen in strokes that are ischemic (by an artery blockage) or hemorrhagic (associated with a ruptured blood vessel).

In an article entitled laughter nerves Published in the Swiss Medical Journal in 2008, chronic pathological laughter and crying are defined as: Inappropriate, uncontrolled laughter and crying of abnormal intensity with no appropriate subjective effect. […] Subjectively, pathological laughter and crying are often extremely painful and disabling. However, patients rarely talk about the problem spontaneously; So the doctor should approach it in a purposeful way.

Treatment with antidepressants […] Often effective. […] Inappropriate, functioning abnormally, or lacking abnormal laughter and smiling can also be caused by emotional disturbances from which neurological and psychological causes arise.

Below is a video example of a person with pathological laughter syndrome; In this case pseudobulbar palsy is caused by lesions in the central motor neurons. Be careful, images are likely to offend and upset you.

neurologist in activity, Patrick Verstichell He is the author of a great post on the subject, “Reasons for Prodromal Laughter”, which was published on the Circular website Futura Science. He describes the condition of a patient he examined as follows: “To provoke laughter, an external stimulus is needed, whether it is auditory (a joke), visual (a funny scene) or sensory (a tickle). The neural information generated by this stimulus is transmitted by sensory pathways to the frontal lobe.

Here comes a crucial aspect: the right frontal lobe is more sensitive to humor, irony, and metaphor, much more than its left counterpart. It acts as a filter, i.e. modifies the appropriate response, which may be hilarious, but always taking into account the surrounding context and whether laughter is appropriate or not depending on the context. […]”

Then he continues a little: “In the case of the patient I examined, injury to the right frontal lobe caused significant disruption to its normal role as an inhibitory filter. Therefore, any situation and any stimulus was considered irresistibly funny, and activated the neural chain to elicit laughter.” […]”

As for wrapping up his show, it looks like it was hand-stitched for the Joker: “A patient with pathological laughter makes those around him uncomfortable, and causes him to distance himself. Unexplained laughter for psychosis, like schizophrenia, has the same effect.”

Due to the rarity of the phenomenon of prodromal laughter, and because it is a case by case, there is not yet (unfortunately) a study to identify the phenomenon and measure the number of patients who suffer from this syndrome.

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