A striking and powerful look inside the walls of a psychiatric ward and the human mind

Faceless "Why do you think you need to be in a psychiatric ward?" asks the psychiatrist. "Because I have a Beautiful Mind" answers the patient. And so begins the therapy of those who have become manic, have attempted suicide or just succumbed to their fears and ended up in hospital. This sensitive, crafted, fascinating film listens to some of the voices inside their head.

The patients here have fallen into a safety net, they have found comfort, "like fingers in a glove." Maria's life may have been saved. She was found "dancing on train tracks." But Maria wants to prove she doesn't need medication. Highly articulate, she says she prefers "freedom" to "freedumb."

Greg thought he was being irradiated through his power system at home, but will admit that his brain may be playing tricks on him. Another patient has begged for electric shock treatment as it "feels like a long period of time of complete peace." Yet another feels someone has stolen her identity, though her character comes across as warm and stable. They talk about the worst part of the night - whether it's not being able to sleep, or someone shining a light in their eyes to check the drugs have knocked them out.

Simple activities like playing cards take on much more complexity when two people's perceptions of reality clash. Insults fly: "You're cheap and a thief!" "You can't stand it when I win!" They are "too chicken" to carry on playing, but loathe to go to their rooms where they will just sleep... passing time, dressed in their pyjamas.

A patient is discharged whilst still hearing voices. But they're not telling him to kill himself "today." The situation seems so precarious. The reality of failure is brought home when the psychiatrists sign a card of condolence for the relatives of a patient who killed himself. "He was so sick," laments the therapist. "I just couldn't get him better."

Maria has decided to leave, against medical advice and despite her sobs and the fact that she has only $3 in her pocket. Ten hours later she's still there but she really has no choice but to go back out into the world. There's an underlying expectation that it's a "revolving door". That she, like so many others, may be back.

A truly illuminating documentary, shedding light on the darkest recesses of the human mind, without judgement, preconception or hype.


Laurel Official Selection - Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2012

Laurel Official Selection - Costa Rica International Film Festival, 2012

The Producers

Jason Lapeyre is a filmmaker based in Toronto. His most recent film, I DECLARE WAR, was an official selection at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 2012 Fantastic Fest. His first film, COLD BLOODED, won the Audience Award for Best Canadian Feature at the 2012 Fantasia Film Festival. He also produced the award-winning short film THE CAPTURED BIRD, Executive Produced by Guillermo del Toro. FACELESS is his first documentary.

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