PEOPLE IN WHITE
Directed by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta - Kalleinen
2011, 64 minutes
Purchase: $310 | Classroom rental: $125
During a group therapy session, nine patients talk about their psychiatrists and their experiences in mental institutions, and role-play each other's experiences, taking the parts of both patient and doctor. This innovative documentary by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta, best known for their renowned film Complaints Choir, examines the relationship between mental health care professionals and their clients, making the doctors and their treatment methods the primary focus.
Sincere, disturbing, poignant and funny observations from the patients offer a fresh look at doctor-patient relationship. As they discuss severe depression, mania, extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder, sexual abuse, self-mutilation, suicide, paranoia; patients express their feelings towards their illness, diagnosis, and doctors, dispelling many taboos along the way.
Roles in the film are "played" by both actors and actual patients, as all of the interviewees were able to choose whether they want to be in the film themselves, or if they prefer an actor to represent them. All said in the film is a direct quotation from the original interviews the filmmakers made with people recovering from mental illness. The actors listened to the original interviews and were guided on the set by the actual people they were playing for a realistic representation.