Past screening

Titicut Follies

Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
Runtime: 1hr 24min Year: 1967

Details

Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
Runtime: 1hr 24min Year: 1967
Country: United States

Presented by Andre Singer. The now legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s debut film, a stark and graphic portrayal of the conditions that existed at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Presented by Andre Singer as part of the 10 week series Filmmaker’s Favourites

One of the greatest directorial debuts in the history of cinema, and also one of the most controversial, Titicut Follies is an unflinching look at the conditions inside the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts in the late 60s.Named after the institution’s musical talent show, the film depicts the daily lives of the inmates/​patients as they are ignored, taunted, mocked, force-fed and stripped bare (literally and figuratively) by the guards, doctors and social workers who are supposed to provide for their care.

Initially Wiseman had the full cooperation of the authorities, but once they had seen the film they were furious and controversies concerning the violation of the detainees’ privacy led to numerous lawsuits. The film served as a blueprint for Wiseman’s later work, in which he has repeatedly taken an American institution – the high school, a military training centre, a police department – and held it up to the light.

Andre Singer is a documentary producer, director and anthropologist. Singer has worked with Werner Herzog as a producer or Executive producer on eight productions including Into the Abyss (2011). He also Executive Produced Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014). Last year Andre directed and released Night Will Fall (2014).

Across 10 Thursday afternoons, celebrated doc-makers from Sophie Fiennes to Penny Woolcock to Kevin Macdonald will give a personal introduction to one of the films they chose for the Sight & Sound Greatest Documentaries of all Time poll.