Dir: Richard Squires
Digital Video, colour, stereo, 27 mins, 2007
Syphilitic Narrator: Nick Ewans
Salpêtrian Hysteric: Alexis Terry
Mad Women: Christine Law, Aurélie Amblard
Experimenter: Ian Jones
Cinematography: David Raedeker, Richard Squires
Sound recordists: Thomas Bauer, Byron Blake
Sound Design: Byron Blake
Online Editor: Todd Downing
With curator of the Charcot Library, Véronique Leroux-Hugon, criminologist Mary Bosworth and author Thirza Vallois.
Funded by Arts Council England
Development funding London Artists Film & Video Awards
PROGRAMME examines the origins of ‘hysteria’ at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, interweaving documentary, drama and sporadic attempts at hypnotic communication.
In the late 1800s the Salpêtrière was the stage for Dr Charcot’s highly theatrical presentations of ‘hysteria’ featuring star patients such as Blanche Wittman. PROGRAMME examines aspects of the neurologist’s practice that suggest manipulation, collusion or simulation and revisits the Salpêtrière’s history as an establishment of social control. Interviews with historians, dramatic reconstructions and a syphilitic narrator come together to fashion a hysterical narrative that eventually unravels to expose its own construction.
PROGRAMME premiered at New Work UK Whitechapel Gallery, London. Subsequent screenings included the Old Operating Theatre, London; Hamburg Short Film Festival, Germany; Leeds International Film Festival, UK; Freud Museum, London; GSK Contemporary, Royal Academy, London and Oldenburg Short Film Festival, Germany.
A commissioned text Camera Obscura by Ian White accompanied the release of the film.
Distribution Light Cone