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Titicut Follies

Director: Frederick Wiseman

USA| 1967| 84 mins


‘You emerge from the film in something like a state of low-level shock’ Sight & Sound
It would take 20 years of legal wrangling to unshackle Titticut Follies from political suppression, and finally show the world what once went on at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Wiseman’s silent lens peers into the cells and down the corridors of a dilapidated institution. In one grotesque sequence, an emaciated inmate is force-fed through a tube inserted up his nose, while the ‘professional’ looms above him with a dangling cigarette whose column of ash grows precariously long. Wiseman then juxtaposes a chilling image of the same inmate a few days later, who is receiving some humane treatment at the hands of the mortician.

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