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Thin Line

Directed by Janis Cole and Holly Dale
Canada, 1977 (documentary, 32 minutes, colour, English)

Film Description:
"The maximum security mental health center at Penetanguishene, Ontario, is a hospital for the criminally insane. Through interviews and during the therapy sessions of the patients themselves (including a glimpse into 'the capsule,' which patients enter voluntarily as a way to break down psychological reserve), Thin Line shows the capacity for understanding and human compassion in these men who have committed some of the most brutal crimes, including rape, assault, and murder."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Description [in French] :
"La vie dans un centre à sécurité maximale pour les hommes malades mentaux."
-- Jana Vosikovska (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Produced by: Janis Cole, Holly Dale
Narrator: Katherine Osborne
Cinematography: John Clement, Joseph L. Sutherland
Film Editing: Janis Cole, Holly Dale
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada, Spectrum Films

Quotes about Thin Line

"Their idea was to penetrate the Ontario hospital for the criminally insane at Penetanguishene. They spent six months going there, carefully cultivating friendships, slowly winning the trust of the administrators, the therapists, and above all the inmates, or patients. Then they got a $10,000 Canada Council grant, went to the hospital, and started shooting. The results are astonishing: young murderers, rapists, and knife artists, talking about what made them what they are and how they hope to become something different."
-- Robert Fulford (source)

"Throughout, the filmmakers seem intent on changing any misconceptions we might have of either the inmates or the institution. At one point they include shots of the long corridors echoing with the haunting sound of screaming voices, as though in recognition that this is to be expected in such a place. Instead, the filmmakers concentrate on articulate men able to analyze their problems, admit their weaknesses, and arrive at an understanding of the social and psychological forces which lead to their criminal acts."
-- Joyce Nelson (source)

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