Thursday, March 4, 2010

What is the Titicut Follies/Memoir Project, Anyway?

Since I talk about this now and then, and most people have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, I thought I’d ‘splain it. A little. For anyone who is interested.

First, it helps if you know something about the film Titicut Follies (1967), directed by Sam Wiseman. It’s much easier for you to click on the link, read a little about it, then come back here. Go on. I’ll wait.

You’re back already? Good. Well, my uncle was in that film. Pretty much anyone who has ever seen the film remembers him: He is the tall, thin, Russian dude. Vladimir. He is on the left in that photo, the psychiatrist is on the right.

Vladimir wages a sort-of quest in the film, to get the psychiatrist (and the committee) to send him back to Walpole, the prison from whence he came. In fact, in almost any discussion of Titticut Follies, especially on the Interwebs, people have stuff to say about him. Pretty much all of them are wrong in their suppositions. They assume that because Bridgewater housed notorious sexual predators (like the Boston Strangler), Vladmir must have been one too. They assume that he was mentally ill when he went there, or he wouldn't have landed there.