Several years ago I finally got the chance to watch a documentary that had been in my thoughts for a long time. It was Titicut Follies, which the renowned filmmaker Frederick Wiseman shot in Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachusetts in 1967.
I had heard that Titicut Follies included gruesome and horrifying scenes of the abuse of mentally ill patients — and it certainly does — but the film sticks in the viewer’s mind more for showing how patients and staff in this hospital were trapped together in a system of psychiatric care that benefited few and brought misery to all.
I recently wrote a post about the history of Titicut Follies as a contributor to the Wonders & Marvels history blog. Please check it out, and feel free to leave a comment (here or there) about your favorite films that tackle the topic of the treatment of the mentally ill.
Below: Film critic Cole Smithey gives a good introduction to Titicut Follies.