Qu’advient-il des personnes atteintes de maladie mentale qui commettent des crimes violents? Où sont-elles gardées? Comment sont-elles traitées? Pendant 18 mois, le cinéaste gagnant de quatre prix Emmy John Kastner a obtenu un accès sans précédent à l’une de ces institutions médicolégales (autrefois appelées asiles pour criminels aliénés) : le Centre de santé mentale de Brockville. À travers ce long métrage documentaire, Kastner brosse le portrait de quatre patients — deux hommes et deux femmes — qui luttent pour prendre leur vie en main afin de réintégrer une société dans laquelle ils sont généralement craints et diabolisés.
Pour avoir plus d’informations sur ce film, visitez le Blogue de l'ONF.
This feature documentary profiles four residents of the Brockville Mental Health Centre, a forensic psychiatric hospital for people who have committed violent crimes. Four patients—two men and two women—struggle to gain control over their lives so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them. Shrouded in stigma, institutions like this one are places into which patients disappear from public view for years.
Four-time Emmy winner John Kastner was granted unprecedented access to the Brockville facility for 18 months, allowing 46 patients and 75 staff to share their experiences with stunning frankness.
For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
Directed by John Kastner, this feature documentary about violence, mental illness, and the rights of victims tells the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger 6 times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out, living in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take the anti-psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
This gripping documentary takes a powerful look at the lives of people with substance use disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Veronica Alice Mannix follows Constable Al Arsenault and six other police officers on their daily beat, documenting their unique relationships with people who speak candidly about their painful past experiences, their drug addiction, and life on the street.
Despite the overflowing prisons and billions of dollars spent by governments, drug trafficking is a bigger problem than ever. In an unending spiral, increasingly effective repression only makes drugs scarcer, thus driving up the cost, which in turn increases criminality and makes life less safe for ordinary citizens. After so many years of this war on drugs, many observers are calling for a cease-fire in the hope that legalizing drugs might be the solution.
In Crown Prince, Frank Robinson abuses his wife verbally and batters her physically, with frightening consequences not only for her, but also for their sons, Billy and Freddy. A thought-provoking drama, this film explores the complex problems teenagers face in dealing with domestic violence, and shows how one family begins the healing process.
A young woman works as an exotic dancer in a bar. She recalls an incident from her childhood in which she was physically abused by a male visitor. This inner journey brings back painful memories, including the obsessive image of a hat. Black-ink drawings, spare and rapidly executed, flow together in a succession of troubling and striking metamorphoses. The Hat is a tough, visceral experience. With naked honesty, animator Michèle Cournoyer invites the audience to share in the pain of a woman whose body is on display and whose soul is forever soiled. A film without words.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Luke Melchior (1973-2021) who, at 26, had already lived longer than most people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive wasting of the muscles. Knowing his life would be relatively short had made Luke feel an urgency about making a lasting contribution. Living independently, with the help of 3 homecare workers, he ran a web-based business selling outdoor gear, and chaired the board of the Disability Resource Centre in Victoria, BC, where he was a passionate advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Bearing Witness consists of 3 films, each approximately one hour long, on people with life-threatening illnesses. The series also profiles Jocelyn Morton, who died of liver cancer at 44, and Robert Coley-Donohue, who died of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 74.
Filmmaker Anne Claire Poirier captures the most terrible tragedy a mother can imagine – her own daughter's addiction, prostitution, and eventual murder. Determined to use her talent as a filmmaker to find the strength and courage needed to go on, Poirier created a cinematic tour-de-force that delves into the lives of street people. She unearths her daughter's past in order to better understand why she, and other young people, risk their lives for the drugs they believe will set them free.
This feature documentary offers an intimate portrait of living with bipolar disorder. Filmmaker Pierre Goupil (Celui qui voit les heures, La vérité est un mensonge) reveals his uneasy relationship with his illness and his journey as an artist in a society that struggles to accept those on the fringe. A product of the 1960s intellectual scene, Goupil continues to question the world and fight for global solidarity. The Wind at My Door celebrates life amid suffering, while reaffirming the importance of social ties and political commitment. An ode to the freedom of individuals over the powers that would enslave them, Goupil's film acknowledges both the terrible winter and the long-awaited spring of renewed creation.
When the superstitious Zeb finds a spider in her apartment, she must do everything in her power to keep the unwanted guest’s appetite satisfied, or risk being eaten herself. This stop-motion cautionary tale examines the discomfort of the human experience when a superstitious outlook becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Ages 18 to None
Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
Media Education - Documentary Film
Social Studies - Social Policies and Programs
Ideal for essays and debates on the justice system and mental health. To what degree is society responsible for criminals with mental illness? How does your opinion of the subjects in this film change as you watch it? Is justice a matter of incarcerating people or rehabilitating them? Research the history of mental health and criminality. How have our perspectives changed over time? How does the filmmaker feel about this institution and its patients? How does he communicate this?