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Editing in Titicut Follies

by Kate Fortmueller

Titicut Follies is directed by Frederick Wiseman, a man who, beginning with this film, has made a number of nonfiction films about institutions. This film is about Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. Wiseman filmed 29 days of the film in the prison, eventually cutting the film to 84 minutes.

The release of the film was highly controversial – the government of Massachusetts tried to ban the film before its release based on claims that it violated patients privacy and dignity – even though Wiseman had releases from all the patients and their guardians.

The film, and this clip, depict a number of unsafe and unsanitary conditions. This clip is consistent with the style of the entire film. Wiseman cuts between different rooms and events. What is the effect of this editing? How does it help you understand the content of the film? Spatial relations? Chronology?

Titicut Follies (1967)

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Frederick Wiseman's documentary about the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, MA.

from Titicut Follies (1967)
Creator: Frederick Wiseman
Posted by Kate Fortmueller