Thursday, April 21, 2005 – 7:30 pm
USA 1972. Director: Peter Robinson
In 1971, a trio of filmmakers was granted permission by its residents to film for six weeks in a unique home for “mentally troubled” individuals in London, UK. The Archway Community was based in large part on the theories of the late radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing, in particular his belief that a communal living arrangement could avoid the hierarchical structure of the usual doctor-patient relationship and break the cycle of people being fruitlessly shuttled between mental hospitals and their often dysfunctional homes. The film participates in this ethos, simply observing the housemates as they interact with each other, with their therapists, and with visitors “from the outside”. The late Peter Robinson’s ASYLUM is a unique and moving documentary on mental illness and a tremendously humane and powerful document of community. Despite acclaim at festivals and theatrical showings abroad when released in 1972, the film had limited exposure in North America, but acquired legendary status for some in the psychiatric community and amongst cinema verité aficionados – as a liberating and positive companion to Frederick Wiseman’s TITICUT FOLLIES. Colour, shot in 16 mm, projected from DVD, 96 min. Courtesy of KINO International.
The program will include a post-screening discussion with:
Richard W. Adams, ASYLUM’s cameraman and editor, who will also screen excerpts from the late Peter Robinson’s rare footage capturing R.D. Laing as counter-culture guru in top form during his 1972 tour of U.S. college campuses. Adams’ credits include collaboration on the late Francis Thompson’s Oscar-winning 3-screen TO BE ALIVE!, William Miles’ MEN OF BRONZE and I REMEMBER HARLEM, as well as his own CITIZENS, on Poland’s Solidarity movement, and A DAY AT E.I.S., on a homelessness-prevention center. Adams is currently developing a film on a day-program for people with dementia. Andrew Feldmár, Registered Psychologist. Andrew is a psychologist in Vancouver, practicing psychotherapy for the past 36 years. He tried to create asylums here in Vancouver and also in Budapest, Hungary. He met R. D. Laing in 1974, studied and worked with him, and they became friends and colleagues until Laing’s death in 1989.
Evening moderated by:
Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.