Titicut Follies

Dir. Frederick Wiseman. 1967, 84 mins. 16 mm. Prisons and mental institutions, where recalcitrant or ill-fitting citizens are put out of sight, are the dirty secrets of civilized society. As they are owned and controlled by precisely those who wish to keep them secret, and are also confined to specific, enclosed spaces, filmmakers are easily kept out. Wiseman’s achievement in creating this unique film document is therefore all the more impressive: it is a major work of subversive cinema and a searing indictment—without editorializing narration—of the “system.”

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