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psychiatry-in-russia

I don’t know anything much of anything about psychiatry. But I am really interested in American films about life in the Soviet Union and Albert Maysles’ Psychiatry in Russia is a pretty good entry in that genre. Maysles notes the relatively relaxed psychiatric wards of the Soviet Union, hardly the hellholes that an American viewer might expect. He talks about differences in theory used by Soviet doctors (no Freudianism in practice here). He shows how children are dealt with, how women who suffer from syphilis are demonized like in the U.S. (this is sad stuff), how more difficult patients are dealt with (no electric shock for one thing). There’s nothing particularly profound in this little 13 minute film except for the relative normalcy of everything. Which for 1955 was fairly profound. Interesting film and key moment in the career of the great documentarian.

7/10

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