Titicut Follies (35mm Restoration!)

35mm Restoration courtesy of the Library of Congress

The first feature-length effort by lawyer-turned-documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, Titicut Follies is a cinéma-vérité portrait of the appalling patient conditions inside Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, a correctional institution in Massachusetts. Over the course of 29 days–what would become the typical amount of time for the filmmaker to spend in each of the American institutions he depicted over the course of his 50 years of filmmaking–Wiseman and his synchronized-sound 16mm camera unflinchingly capture the unsanitary living environment and basic human rights violations nakedly unfolding before him. Banned upon its 1967 release due to questions of ethics and patients’ rights, Titicut never shies away from the painful, harsh realities of existence inside a mental institution, marking newcomer Wiseman almost instantly as the quintessential observational filmmaker of contemporary institutional life in America.

Dir Frederick Wiseman, 1967, 35mm, 84 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!