Warrendale | Chicago Reader

Warrendale

For this striking cinema verite documentary (1967), Canadian filmmaker Allan King spent eight weeks observing children and counselors at a Toronto facility for emotionally disturbed children; its director, Dr. Martin Fischer, advocated an experimental therapy in which the children were physically held down during their tantrums and forced to articulate what they were feeling. The camera hugs these altercations as the children rage, curse, spit, and weep, and the film is filled with moments of extraordinary tenderness and empathy as the adults hold them (Jean Renoir was captivated when it screened at the Cannes film festival). King provides no sort of psycho-therapeutic context one might use to judge the technique's effectiveness; he later admitted that his real objective was to capture the experience of childhood, revealed here in all its fear, anger, and vulnerability.

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