"It leaves one with admiration..."
SUNDAZ! M.S. Gant, March 5, 1976 (Santa Cruz, California)
"When it was shown at this year's Filmex in Los Angeles, it was called "a more biting film than
Autumn 1973 thru spring 1974 I drove up and down California talking with psychiatrists, mental health administrators, politicians, advocates for patients or for hospital staff, former patients, and I visited state hospitals. A unique moment came when the director of an experimental program at Atascadero invited me to observe a behavioral program for people facing criminal charges. Atascadero essentially is a prison. Staff and inmates in the program took on the different roles of a mock criminal trial. The defendant was being conditioned to face a real trial in Oakland.
Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies and Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest..."
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART Press Release,
April 1976 Read more....
All this pre-production research is necessary but when you finally get into the ward to film – that stuff goes out the window. Everything is right there happening in the dayroom.
"It is a drama of particulars, of individual patients and individual doctors, and it is enough to make
you swear off anything stronger than warm milk forever."
THE NEW YORK TIMES, Vincent Canby, May 5, 1976 Read more...
"Once again we are reminded that the wealth of cinematic experience is not deposited only in the fiction film.
My memories were fresher when Alan Rosenthal interviewed me for his 1980 book The Documentary Conscience. I still remember crucial decisions. Such as when I realized the patients on the ward though oblivious to the camera were distracted by the microphone and pole swinging over their heads. They just kept watching it. Interesting. I had Josh Morton the soundman switch to a shotgun microphone; a sacrifice of a sort and a true gain of another. The rest is history.
For the documentary camera can create its own dialectic with the people under its siege, forcing them to
examine their most ordinary actions, and sensitizing us to the currents of tyranny and madness which
surround much public behavior. Because Cohen and Rafferty are much closer in spirit (as well as ideology)
to Goffman's sociology of madness than to Artaud's aesthetic of madness...”
the village VOICE, Richard Goldstein, May 17, 1976 Read more....