A Long History of Madness

2011 | 120mins | Colour
By Mieke Bal & Michelle Williams Gamaker

Genre: Theoretical Fiction / Psychological Drama
Multi-lingual with English, French, Finnish, Spanish, Dutch, Russian subtitles

If your mentally ill patient dies, are you to blame?

For Dr Françoise Davoine, Parisian psychoanalyst, this question becomes disturbingly real as one of her patients, Ariste, dies. Davoine is abducted and put on trial by mediaeval fools and through the course of one hellish day - across several centuries and countries – must argue her case for exoneration.

As the journey forces Dr Davoine to question her own life, via a mix of fiction, documentary and theory, A Long History of Madness takes the viewer on a one-of-a-kind journey into the minds of the ‘mad’ and those designated to cure them.

For more information visit the film’s official website.

Publications about this project

DVD box of A Long History of Madness
The Feature disc has the release version of the film, with subtitles in six languages.
The “Extras” disc includes an introduction to the project, as well as a “making of” featurette. Also, there is a conversation between Marja (Sissi) and Marjo (Sissi’s analyst) about Sissi’s case. This is paired by an enlightening dialogue between Françoise and Thomas (Artaud, Antonin, Herlat…) about acting in multiple roles, as well as a piece that develops the analogy between music and psychoanalysis, and two more reflections on madness. The disc also includes several short scenes that didn’t make it into the final film.

How to acquire the DVD?
Instead of selling the DVD box, we ask you to support my current project, Don Quixote: Don Quixote: Sad Countenances by donating the worth of the DVD box set or more to help me finish this project. If you care to make a donation to support this endeavour, here is the deal:

  • For donations of 25 euro or more, you will get the double DVD set for A Long History of Madness.
  • For donations of 100 euro or more, you get, in addition, a catalogue of the exhibition Landscapes of Madness: an exhibition held at Ars Nova, Turku, Finland in October 2011. This exhibition features used, but also and additional footage from the film.
  • 1) Make a donation by bank transfer:
    M.G. Bal
    IBAN: NL85ABNA0949591297

    Gustav Mahlerlaan 10
    1082 PP Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

    2) Send us an e-mail detailing your support (date of transfer, reference and amount), so that we know where to send you the DVD box. Please include your postal address in your message, which can be sent to: Mieke.G.Bal@gmail.com
    To the amount of € 25 an additional €8 should be added for postage.
    Special Screenings of earlier version Mère Folle
    130’, 2010 (longer version of A Long History of Madness)
    3rd International Madness and Arts Festival, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 26 September 2010
    Exhibited at
    “Images Moving Across the Arts and Disciplines” conference, Laterna Film Academy, Pécs, Hungary, December 11, 2010
    KIZ RoyalKino (in collaboration with Kunsthaus Graz), Graz, Austria, December 8, 2010
    Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, Bilbao, Spain, December 1, 2010
    Fondation de Nant, Corsier sur Vevey, Switzerland, November 25, 2010
    Freud Museum, Vienna, Austria, November 12, 2010
    ISPS-US Annual Meeting, Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA, United States, November 6, 2010
    Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States, November 5, 2010
    Stony Brook University, Long Island, NY, United States, November 4, 2010
    Tisch School of Arts, New York University, New York, NY, United States, November 3, 2010
    Departments of French and Psychiatry, Yale University, Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, CT, United States, November 2, 2010
    Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States, November 1, 2010
    “Configuring the Present across Art and Media,” ASAP conference, Universität Trier, Germany, October 29, 2010
    Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 14, 2010

    Special Screenings of later, somewhat shorter version A Long History of Madness
    Universidad autonoma de Queretaro, Mexico, May 25, 2018
    Luca School of Arts, Brussels, March 14, 2018
    Royal Dutch Institute Rome (KNIR), at the Villa Medici, 27 September 2017
    Santiago de Chile, faculté des sciences sociales de l’université du Chili, 28 and 29 May, 2017
    Córdoba, Argentina, Alliance Française, 18 May 2017
    University of Zagreb, at conference “Narratology and Its Discontents: Narrating Beyond Narration”, Zagreb, Croatia, 7 April 2017
    Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway, 30 March 2017
    Clark Art Institute, Fellows Residence, Williamstown, MA, USA (informal, with discussion) 24 October 2016
    Lisbon Estoril film festival, presented by Françoise Davoine, colloquium on Chaos, under the titles Histoires de fous, 14 November 2015
    Cine Tonalá, Retrospectiva Fílmica Mieke Bal, 20 January 2015
    Cinéma de la communeauté de Communes de Clermot de l’Oise, Cinéclap, CEMEA de l’hôpial pyschiatrique de Clermont de l’Oise, 28 September 2013
    Conference “Folds and Patterns”, at Eikones NCCR Iconic Criticism, University of Basel, 31 May 2013
    Film Forum at the Ludwig Museum, Köln, 29 January 2013
    Fédération européenne de psychyse et école psychytique de Strasbourg (FEDEPSY), 23 November 2012
    Círculo Psicoanalítico mexicano, series “El psicoanalista en el cine”, Centro Cultural Casa Reyes Heroles, Coyoacán, 3 November 2012
    Cinéma Le Métropole, Lille, France, for the Société de Psychanalye, 19 October 2012
    Espacio INCAA (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales), Ciudad de las Artes, Córdoba, Argentina, 16 and 23 August, 2012
    Cineteca, Conarte, Monterrey, Mexico, 28 June 2012 (Q&A with Alberto Montoya Hernández, director Cineclub, México Ciudad, México
    Topkino, Vienna, 12-20 May 2012 (Q&A by Andrea Braidt)
    Les 3 luxembourg, Paris, May 13, 2012 (Q&A by Michiel Engel)
    Lumière Cinema, Göttingen, Germany, May 24, 2012 (Q&A by Lalit Vachani)
    Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, New York, March 30, 2012
    Alands Museet, Aland, March 10, 2012
    Bell TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre, Toronto, March 5, 2012
    VTape, Toronto, March 3 – April 7 (twice daily), 2012
    Ciné Lido, Centro Cultural Bella Epoca, México Ciudad, México, 5 February 2012
    Niagara Theatre, Tampere, Finland, 22 January 2012
    City Library, Turku, Finland, 18 January 2012; 4 January 2012
    Arts Centre Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain, 14 December 2011
    Festival On Wheels, screening followed by Masterclass, Ankara, Turkey, 6 December, 2011
    ArtSpace, Syndney, Australia, 31 November, 2011
    Association A Propos, Cinéma d’art et d’essai, Metz, France, 25 November, 2011
    Università di Bologna, Scuela de Studi Superiori Umanistici, 23 November, 2011
    Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal, 10 November, 2011
    Cineteca Nacional, México Ciudad, México, 31 October, 2011
    Cineclub, Coyoacán, México, 29 October, 2011
    Festival de la Locura, Universidad Iberoamericana, León, México, 26 October, 2011
    PharmaCity Auditorium, Arts Studies, University of Turku, Finland, 21 October, 2011
    Conference “Ordnungen des Sehens: Innovationsfelder der kunsthistorischen Niederlandeforschung. Frankfurt am Main, Johann Wilhelm Goethe Universität & Städel Museum, September 30, 2011
    Society of Psychoanalysis Therapeia, Helsinki, 23 September 2011
    Colloque International “Ecriture(s) et psychanalyste: quels récits? ”, Centre de Cerisy La-Salle, France, July 7, 2011
    International Visual Sociology Association, Annual Meeting, “Visual Research as Collaborative and Participatory Practice. Theatre, Vancouver, Canada July 7 , 2011
    Flagey, Brussels, Belgium, May 29, 2011 (included panel discussion)
    “Camillo 2.0: Technology, Memory, Experience” Performance Studies International conference, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, May 27, 2011
    Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA, May 13, 2011
     Cape Town-based private practitioner psychologists’ supervision group. March 28, 2011
    “Space, Ritual, Absence: The Liminal in South African Visual Art” colloquium, Research Centre Visual Identities in Art and Design, University of Johannesburg (hosted at The Bioscope), Johannesburg, South Africa, March 9, 2011
    “Practicing Theory,” ASCA International Workshop 2011, ASCA, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 4, 2011
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, USA, February 26, 2011 (included artist Q & A)
    “Madness, History and the Social Link” conference on Mère Folle, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University (hosted at Goldsmiths, University of London), London, UK, February 19, 2011 (included artist Q & A)
    Goldsmiths, University of London, February 19, 2011 (included artist Q & A)
    Salón de Actos de la Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Informática. [ETSINF - Edificio 1E] Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, February 2, 2011
    Cendeac, Murcia, Spain, January 31, 2011
    Auditorio Casa de Cultura, Bullas, Spain, January 30, 2011