DVD - 2010
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Examines the lives of residents and staff at an experimental home for emotionally disturbed youth.
Publisher: [New York] : Criterion Collection, c2010
ISBN: 9781604653434
Branch Call Number: DVD 616.89 WARRENDALE
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (101 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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Jun 15, 2016

With neither talking heads nor voiceovers to smooth out the rough spots, King simply lets the cameras roll over several days’ worth of meltdowns, quiet times, and illuminating staff meetings. Although we are never given their diagnoses the kids, ranging in age from preteen to young adult, clearly suffer from a multitude of mental health issues including ADD and mild autism while the soft-spoken staff display an amazing degree of control as they use confrontation, whispered reassurances and, when needed, restraining hugs if a child’s acting out becomes too destructive (a few patched holes in the wall indicate that some hugs came too late). In one rather baffling scene bedtime stories and baby bottles are used to calm some of the older children down. Allowed unlimited access to both patients and employees, King films the quotidian realities of life at Warrendale—the soothing interventions, the daily tantrums, the giggling mischief—but when tragedy befalls the facility he is on hand to record the psychological fallout as their caregivers help the children struggle through waves of overwhelming grief. The film’s seemingly unstructured format and voyeuristic approach (you can even hear the camera gears whirring away) are definitely not to everyone’s taste but King has left us with an intense documentary of children in pain and the adults who care for them. This is not cinéma-vérité, this is as real as life gets.

Mar 21, 2013

Revealing look at how disturbed children were handled in the late 60s. I doubt they would be allowed to treat children to so many "holdings" today. Particularly, I doubt if any male caregivers would be allowed to "hold" female patients. But an interesting look at the situation..


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