Titicut Follies

Thematic Crime and Punishment Curated by Joe Berlinger

In his first feature film, prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman provides an unflinching examination of inmate life at the state prison for the criminally insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in the mid-1960s. In recording the daily operations of this psychiatric institution, Wiseman captures heinous crimes by doctors, social workers, and guards perhaps rivaling those of which the inmates have been convicted. Without narration, onscreen text, or interviews, the image is all that remains as a record of countless atrocities that unfold seemingly per usual. A man who soils himself is marched nude down the hallway and taunted by staff; another who has stopped eating is force-fed through a tube thrust into his nose, his body later dressed in a suit and carefully prepared for burial. The viewer is left simply to scrutinize this treatment of patients who have been deemed criminally insane. While the film’s title nods to a yearly talent show put on by the inmates, what’s really at play is the definition of justice in mental health care.  KR


Frederick Wiseman


Frederick Wiseman


Frederick Wiseman, Alyne Model


John Marshall

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

84 minutes