Underground Film Journal

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Austin Underground Film Society: Subversive Asylum Cinema Verite

By Mike Everleth ⋅ May 13, 2009


May 14
9:00 p.m.
Spider House
2908 Fruth St.
Austin, TX

Hosted by: Austin Underground Film Society

There will be two films screening tonight on the issue of mental asylums:

1) Titicut Follies, dir. Frederick Wiseman. This is the notorious cinema verité documentary by Wiseman about the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. It’s a frightening portrait of how inmates were treated in Bridgewater, most of them free to walk around stark naked and housed in inhuman conditions. It is the only film in history pulled from distribution for reasons other than obscenity, immorality and national security.

2) The Cramps Live. The infamous punk band performs for the inmates of the Napa State Mental Hospital in the ’70s. The set opens with frontman Lux Interior, who passed away recently, declaring, “Someone told me you guys were crazy, but y’all look alright to me…”