In TITICUT FOLLIES, Frederick Wiseman and his camera are granted access to Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachusetts. The documentary opens with a revue show performed by guards and inmates at the institution. What follows can only be described as a horrific descent into hell. Prisoners sleep in bare cells, don't shower regularly, and are subjected to terrible torture methods.
TITICUT FOLLIES paints a poignant portrait of the failure of mental health care and the great harm done to people who are already in a very vulnerable position. Wiseman chooses to keep himself off-screen and let the gruesome images speak for themselves. Although Wiseman had full cooperation from the authorities before and during the making of the film, they turned against him after seeing the film. The documentary did not sit well with the Massachusetts government and was seized after a few festival screenings in 1967-68. It was only released again in 1992, on the condition that Wiseman would credit that the conditions had improved.
DISCLAIMER: Titicut Follies contains footage that may be considered shocking by some.