Thursday, May 04, 2017

Movie - Nise: The Heart of Madness

This looks like a very interesting movie. It looks like Dr. Silveira was coming on to the idea of art as a form of therapy/treatment at the same time it was burgeoning in America (with Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer) and Britain in the 1940's, as their counterpart in Brazil. Cool! 


The territory couldn’t be more delicate, but “Nise: The Heart of Madness,” a mesmerizing drama from Brazil, navigates it skillfully to create a portrait of a real-life doctor who found an alternative to some of the more cruel trends in psychiatric treatment in the middle of the last century. 

Glória Pires stars as Dr. Nise da Silveira (1905-1999), who as the film opens is taking up a post at a psychiatric hospital near Rio de Janeiro in 1944. She settles into a seat in a lecture hall where the benefits of lobotomies via thin spike are being extolled, then witnesses a cruel demonstration of another favorite technique, electroshock therapy. 

“I don’t believe in healing through violence,” she tells colleagues, but, especially since she is a woman, they are dismissive. They assign her to what they think is busywork. 

She transforms the insult into opportunity, creating a unit in which patients who had been written off are given a chance to express themselves through painting and other art forms. The results are startling. 

The movie, full of characters behaving erratically, could easily have taken on the aura of a freak show, but the director, Roberto Berliner, somehow stays respectful of the subject matter even while depicting extreme psychiatric conditions. It’s a study of courageous innovation against an entrenched medical orthodoxy. 

“Our job is to cure patients, not comfort them,” one colleague chastises. 

“My instrument is a brush,” Dr. Silveira replies curtly. “Yours is an ice pick.”

Labels: , , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home