The Sterilization of Leilani Muir (1996)

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Alberta and BC governments passed legislation that allowed for the forced sterilization of the mentally ill or defective. By the time the Acts were repealed, shockingly not until the early 1970s, the lives of nearly 4000 individuals were irrevocably altered.

Primo Amore (First Love)

Anorexia nervosa can be a devastating and chronic disorder associated with significant morbidity and mortality. A recent film dealing with anorexia nervosa is “Primo Amore” or First Love.. This Italian production directed by Matteo Garrone revolves around the relationship of Sonia (Michela Cescon) and Vittorio (Vitaliano Trevisan).

Love is the Devil – Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998)

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is often regarded as the greatest of the modern British painters, best known for painting bleak and grotesque portraits with gruesome distorted limbs and physiognomies, particularly in the aftermath of World War II, when modernist art movements underwent cataclysmic shifts.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

Most reviews of The Devil and Daniel Johnston contain the word heartbreaking. The film chronicles the life of Daniel Johnston, a singer/songwriter and cartoonist whose previous widest public exposure occurred at the 1992 MTV Music Awards when Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain wore a T-shirt with a Johnston drawing. Unfortunately, Daniel Johnston’s musical career was derailed early by a severe psychiatric illness, and this documentary relentlessly captures the history of both his mental instability and his artistic talents.

Keanne (2004)

Keane is director Lodge Kerrigan’s third feature film and was executively produced by Steven Soderbergh. Considered by the Austin Chronicle as “one of the great, though largely unheralded, filmmakers of our time,” Kerrigan’s two previous films are Clean, Shaven (1994) – about an individual with schizophrenia attempting to reclaim his daughter from her adoptive family, and Claire Dolan (1998) – the story of an Irish immigrant prostitute who works in Manhattan.

I am a Sex Addict (2005)

There seems to be something paradoxical about the concept of sexual addiction. Addictions are supposed to be associated with clinically significant impairment or distress. And what could possibly be distressing about repetitive sexual activity – virtually everyone’s adolescent fantasy? Well – meet Caveh Zahedi and his highly personal film I am a Sex Addict in which Zahedi plays himself on the occasion of his third marriage. Speaking directly to his audience, we learn from a now 43-year-old Zahedi that all his other relationships have been ruined because of his habit of visiting prostitutes and then sharing that information with his partner of the moment.

The Alma Drawings (2005)

Alma Rumball was born in Huntsville, Ontario in 1902. Raised as a devout Christian, she lived a quiet and unremarkable life in rural Canada until she was about 50 and spent the next 25 years of her life obsessively and single-mindedly creating thousands of intricate line drawings and paintings. Adding to this bizarre tale, Alma denied conscious knowledge of her artwork and denied authorship—and even stranger yet, she received critical acclaim for her talents.

Zelig (1983)

Zelig is a Woody Allen film classic worth revisiting. It is the story of Leonard Zelig, a man who can seamlessly adopt the identities of those around him.

Grey Gardens (1976)

There are two questions that plague every psychiatrist: What is normal, anyway? And was F. Scott Fitzgerald correct—are the rich really different from you and me? All right, perhaps the latter issue is more of a personal than professional interest, but the documentary Grey Gardens provides a wonderful impetus to reflect on each of these profound questions.

Thin (2006)

The cultural mainstream in Western society is one where the ideal is thin and being overweight is often interpreted to represent a loss of personal control. The 70 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men who are dieting at any given time demonstrates our preoccupation with body image.