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Warrendale


Tony, a resident of Warrendale

"Allan King is a great artist. His remarkable work exposes one of the most suspenseful actions I have ever seen on a screen"

                  Jean Renoir

          As explosive today as when it was released thirty years ago, Warrendale is a masterpiece of cinéma vérité. Considered one the world's great modern documentaries, this internationally renowned film chronicles seven weeks in the lives of twelve emotionally disturbed children in the treatment centre of the same name.

    "The most appalling and effecting film I have seen...If "Warrendale' is a film we can't bear to be with, who is at fault?"
       
    New Statesman

          Warrendale was both an experiment and a frontier in pioneering the now common practise of treating children in a family-like setting where they could feel safe to express their feelings. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who commissioned the film in 1966, refused to air it. Although it was released theatrically to huge international acclaim, it was banned from television for thirty years until TVOntario screened it in early 1997. It attracted a deeply appreciative audience of record size. Lori, a resident of Warrendale

    "I count the sight of the desperate, screaming child, held so firmly but so peaceable by the grown-up, to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The utter acceptingness of the arms that do the holding, this tangible assurance that in the throes of self-abandon the child is not abandoned, moved me as I have seldom been moved in the cinema. I felt very deeply that I was witnessing the act of love."
        The Sunday Telegraph

         As well as being a staple in film schools, Warrendale is enormously valuable to such professionals as social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and anyone interested in human behaviour.

    "The negative reactions this film has stirred up in some quarters demonstrated the adult world's dread of the open expression of childhood distress and the anguish that lies behind delinquency and emotional illness. It goes some way towards explaining why so many of our approved schools and schools for maladjusted children frame themselves around a system of control and suppression which hides from the adult, and from the child himself, the shattering impact of inward confusion and panic and feelings in the raw. 'Warrendale' does not spare the adult. It shows what it feels like to hate and be hated."
        The ObserverTony

    "...as an insight into the dark reaches of fear and resentment in the human spirit the film is profound. I cannot imagine anyone coming away from this work unimpressed and unenlightened"
        The Sunday Times

    "Mr. King presents the children not as deranged case-histories, but as people of sensitivity, personality and often a remarkable degree of charm. They are recognisable, and they show us graphically that the naughty child is often a very worried and frightened child. The most unexpected quality of this document on emotional disturbance however is the manner in which the children's catharsis communicates itself. The film reveals to us, more in the way of art than of a text-book, something of ourselves."
        The Financial TimesIrene

    "It is harrowing and horrifying - but compulsive. Blending into the community house like a fly on the wall, King and his cameraman capture startling emotional crises in the lives of the children."
        Evening Standard

    "They (the children) are not deranged, or horrifying to watch. Their attacks of grief, fear, rage and clamour for some impossible immortal intimacy seem only more naked and more terrible in degree than the ones that everyone knows...Allan King's perception of their hellish journeys is like the psychiatric workers' way of dealing with them: the film, which is without commentary, burns into their spirits and makes no judgements. It is a wonderful movie, extending a charity to aberration and distress like no other of its sort that I have ever seen."
        Penelope Gilliatt, The New Yorker

    Prix d'arte et d'essai, Cannes 1967
    New York's Critics Best Foreign Film, 1967
    British Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, 1967

    For a longer overview of the film, see
    Stanley Kauffman's article from The Nation, 1967


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