From the Eclipse Shelf: Warrendale

The great documentarian Allan King burst onto the scene in 1967 with Warrendale, a primal scream of a film set in an experimental Toronto home for emotionally disturbed children. With its fly-on-the-wall approach, this “actuality drama,” as King termed it, gets remarkably intimate with its subjects. It’s a humane work that is also shocking at times, both for the intensity of the kids’ outbursts and the controversial and unorthodox methods of the staff. Rather than a hospital-like environment, Warrendale’s founder envisioned the place as a utopian community in which emotional confrontation and physical contact would replace medication. The setting provided King with the perfect raw material for a startling work of Direct Cinema. Warrendale—which won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and from the British Academy of Film and Television—is a knockout. Watch a clip below.

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