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TV: "Units for the sick, who are these lunatics we lock up?"

Our choice of evening. A "Forbidden Zone" documentary has a sensitive look at the patients of a psychiatric unit (on M6 at 9 pm).

- 11 reads.

Magazine on M6 at 21 heuresC'est a film-shock that plunges us into an occult universe, a parallel and enclosed world: that of psychiatric internment. We are immersed in daily lives of patients of a "hard Sick Unit" (UMD), in Cadillac, in Gironde, one of ten UMD of France. Between hospital and prison, this place accommodates 86 men. Many have committed acts of violence or barbarism. Placed upon request of Prefect, all "present for ors a danger such that necessary care, supervision and security measures can only be implemented in a specific unit".

"What strikes first, by entering here, is silence," says a volunteer visitor, who spends a little of his time on se forgotten society. The silence, but also imposing walls, barbed wire. And all locks to open, doors to cross before entering this place, on margins of society, which arouses all fantasies.

Speaking to patients

This is not first time that a film penetrates heart of a UMD. But this is first time that word is given to patients who are locked in it. It is bias of documentary of Aymone de Chantérac, its originality – and its delicacy: se men with painful paths, often terrible deeds, tell ir history, ir illness, ir symptoms. They also deliver ir hopes and lacks.

Dented childhood, heavy psychiatric past, substance abuse ... In this Court of miracles, eyes, dark and disturbing, express distress and dismay. The gestures are slowed, speech often pasty – effect of medications. Some of m testify to uncovered face. Ors are filmed by fragments: an eye, a mouth ... "I wanted to show ir fragmentation, linked to disease," said director.

It follows Daniel, 48 years, ravaged by OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), back embowed, which bears all his suffering on his body. But it is seen, literally, to recover under effect of a small happiness, a fleeting joy or a hope. Eric, in a delusional puff related to his illness, once planted a roast fork in his sister's throat. The testimony of his mor, torn in her love for her two children, is poignant. Eric and Daniel have been here for eleven years, while average length of stay in a UMD is one year and four months.

Here, three-quarters of patients suffer from schizophrenia or delusional psychotic disorders. However, film takes good care to underline: only a tiny minority of schizophrenics commit acts of violence; More often than not, y are victims of violence of ors.

Avoiding both optimism and sensationalism, this film makes us feel a strange mixture of feelings. It's his great strength. Without ever obscuring tragedy, barbarism of gestures of past, he manages to make us feel compassion for se men.

The film plays on "obscure clarity" of se lives. The camera alternates night sequences, when se men testify in twilight, and splendid images on surrounding countryside. Bad in a gentle light, vineyards of Southwest are so many welcome breaks.

Dedication of staff

It reveals our shortcomings and our prejudices. Thus, this almost surreal dialogue: "Society does not accept words y say," laments Jean-Pierre. "We must put words on our ills," replied Tac Daniel, with a staggering wit that slowness of his phrasing did not foreshadow. In counterpoint, this documentary highlights admirable "second roles": The Nursing teams – nurses, psychiatrists, occupational rapists ... – but also judges who question patients, wher or not to decide ir exit. Their dedication, ir humanity are exemplary.

"It's a place that locks up, but it's a place that also protects," observes Aymone de Chantérac. It protects society and patients from mselves. Testifies Daniel, who says before judge not wanting to go out: "This is only place I feel safe."

"The degree of civilization of a society is judged by way it treats its lunatics," said French psychiatrist Lucien Blackney (1912-2003), diverting this quote from Dostoyevsky: "One can judge degree of civilization of a society by entering His prisons. »

If, before state of our prisons, we can doubt degree of civilization of our country, this documentary, which gives to see an example of establishment where our "lunatics" are treated with benevolence, allows in any case to nourish a little hope.

"Forbidden Zone". Units for hard sick people, who are se lunatics that we lock up?, Aymone de Chantérac (Fr., 2017, 90 min).


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