I don't really know what to think about this one. It is overwhelming, and hard to watch. I feel like the editing plays with us, and it only takes us so close. Provocative and earth shattering for the time. It gets 4 stars for the humanity, the balls to make the film, and the pain that the camera captures fleetingly.
Wiseman's debut took us behind the walls of a state prison for the criminally insane in Bridgewater, Massachusetts and exposed the cruelty, mistreatment and taunting of those supposed to be getting therapy. Famously banned from public exhibition for over 25 years the film has lost none of its incendiary power. A difficult watch that one wonders how the filmmakers were allowed to film in the first place. Essential.
As someone who has experienced modern day psychiatric abuse, I can say the authoritarianism, perverse ideology and "diagnostic" procedures are the same today as in 1967. Because there is no medical evidence in psychiatry it really comes down to the "patient's" story versus the doctor's -- and the former has already lost because he's been labelled a patient.
A very complex issue is oversimplified and given a flawed understanding, making it hard to find a middle ground between the real problems depicted and the ones probably more invented by editing than real, making this both ethical for its courage and unethical for being manipulative at times. There might be more truth in between scenes, just as a crazy person appears to be logical at times. Props for the real stuff.
Tal vez este director sea uno de las principales influencias de Raymond Depardon. El documental de Frederick Wiseman carece de "voz", todo aquí es objetivo, pero lo que es más atractivo (cosa que no posee el director francés) es que juega con los primeros planos. La movilidad del encuadre es casi perverso, al menos para el tema que se está tratando. Esto convierte a "Titicut follies" en un filme visceral.
A voyage into madness guided by the perverted look of Frederick Wiseman (see the musical numbers of "The Titicut Follies", a vaudeville-like group constituted by the monstruous guards of the madhouse in question) is, despite its various qualities, still too ambiguous to produce a strong and lasting "meaning". The lack of a protagonist and the varitety of the information also draw the spectator back.