Chronicles 7-weeks in the lives of 12 emotionally disturbed children and their therapist's experimental method of treatment at the Toronto-area Warrendale facility.

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Martin Fischer ...
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Chronicles 7-weeks in the lives of 12 emotionally disturbed children and their therapist's experimental method of treatment at the Toronto-area Warrendale facility.

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Adults think it's about kids. Kids know it's about adults. See more »

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19 October 1968 (USA)  »

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CAD 60,000 (estimated)
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This was the first major feature-length documentary by director Allan King. See more »

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Spin-off Children in Conflict: A Talk with Irene (1967) See more »

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Warrendale (1967)
10 January 2012 | by (Portland OR) – See all my reviews

Allan King's first feature documentary is a look inside a home for troubled kids, kids who tend to lash out. At Warrendale, they practice a bizarre "holding" technique where children are physically restrained by one or several adults, sometimes when there's no obvious need for it. I question the effectiveness of this... yes, it stops them from hurting themselves or others, but how do you NOT get panicky when someone much larger is clutching you in a vice grip, or even lying on top of you? When a child protests, the staff seems puzzled that they wouldn't want someone's hands and arms and legs all over them when they're trying to have an emotional moment. And the staff often seem to be giving mixed messages, trying to calm a child down while simultaneously screaming orders at them to express their feelings. I got the impression that these guys, although well-meaning, had little idea of what the hell they were doing, putting blind faith in various feelgood philosophies and the healing power of overbearing physical contact. But I must say that in general the kids seemed used to the treatment, and there are even a couple of apparent breakthroughs. At any rate, it's an intense, intimate piece of documentary filmmaking (or "actuality drama," as King calls it), with moments that can leave you gasping for breath, and genuinely moving scenes.


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