In 1955, Albert Maysles traveled to Russia, 16mm camera in hand. During this trip, he shot what was to become his first film, PSYCHIATRY IN RUSSIA, an unprecedented view into Soviet mental healthcare. Originally televised by the David Garroway Show on NBC-TV in 1956.
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Beautiful 16mm footage. Digital will never replace the honesty of these kind of documented visuals.
It turns out that in Russia people had better life inside mental institution that outside.
Surprising that Mayles did such a quotidian happy film. Was he hired by the Soviets to do so?
Historically interesting, but not gripping
It's interesting to see this sympathetic, respectful film made by an American psychiatrist at the height of the cold war. It shows a time and place that must be unfamiliar even to Russians from that time, but certainly to Americans; it gives nuance and texture to the people of that country at that time, and, in 2014, it reveals the biases of that time in the United States, held by the filmmaker, but also carefully addressed by him without pressing too hard on the black and white American political agenda of the time. The tenderness, thoughtfulness and care of the doctors and nurses for their patients was the strongest theme.