Documentary Dilemmas: Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies by Thomas W. Benson, Carolyn Anderson

By Thomas W. Benson, Carolyn Anderson

A case historical past of the single American movie lower than court-imposed regulations for purposes except obscenity or nationwide security.

Titicut Follies
is an excoriating depiction of stipulations within the Massachusetts Correctional establishment at Bridgewater, a prison-hospital for the criminally insane. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts took Wiseman to courtroom, trying to hinder the exhibition of Titicut Follies soon after its unencumber in 1967.

This account of the Titicut Follies case is predicated on ten years of analysis and depends on interviews, journalistic debts, and particularly at the criminal checklist, together with the Commonwealth v. Wiseman transcript, to explain the full means of self sustaining documentary filmmaking. the pains of Titicut Follies raise an important questions about the relation of social documentary to its matters and audiences.

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Additional resources for Documentary Dilemmas: Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies

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It is timely then that the history of the \\'estcrn genre is currently the subject of a scholarly range war, or at least a border skirmish. The standard narrative of the genre's evolution is being' challenged ,1l1d the Western's 60 FILM GE:-JRE generic map partly rewritten. This inevitably complicates matters for students - not least because it inevitably tends to emphasise films outside the existing canon, many of them difficult to access - but should nonetheless be \\e1comed as rebalancing a long-standing problem of critical bias.

Ltes them as its central conflict. 47 THE FAMILY MELODRAMA Identifying the part played by the family in American life of course opens up " \'ast field of enquiry, but as Gallagher (1986) suggests, as a subject the family is often absorbed back into other genres and accommodated to their normative coneerns: The Searchers, for example, is more likely to be read as ,1 film about white racism or the pathology of masculinity than as a parable of the struggle to emision and constitute or maintain a family.

It is not, however, purely in the depiction of these apparently dichotomous spaces, interior and exterior, urban and wilderness, but in the ambivalent relationship bet\\een and the \alues reposed in them, that the Western finds its determining ground. \nd although Ft han's e\ ery action bears po\\crfully on this sheltered E1milial space defending, avenging and finally restoring it - the sphere in which he conducts such decisive ,Iction, like the man himself, remains fundamentally separate ti'om and outside it.

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