In the Saint-Alban psychiatric clinic in the Lozère region of France, they didn't use straightjackets, solitary confinement or other forms of coercion. Patients moved around freely, received ergonomic therapy, worked at a nearby farm and even went on trips with their supervisors. During World War II, the institute also housed refugees, including Jews.

Using recently discovered archival material, this fascinating documentary presents the instigators of this unconventional policy between 1936 and the mid-1970s: Spanish Dr. Tosquelles, a communist persecuted by Franco, and his colleague Lucien Bonaffé, both of them pioneers of 'institutional psychology'. They emphasised social and cultural activities that stimulated patients in many different ways – a fruitful approach that has since fallen out of favour, but which was also a source of inspiration for Surrealists like Paul Éluard, Art Brut pioneer Jean Dubuffet and the trailblazer for de-colonisation theories, Frantz Fanon.

International title
Our Lucky Hours
Filmmaker
Martine Deyres
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Country
France, Belgium, Switzerland
Year
2019
Medium
DCP
Length
77’
Language
French
Producer
Alexandre Cornu
Production Company
Les Films du Tambour de Soie
Sales
Sweet Spot Docs
Writer
Martine Deyres, Anne Paschetta
Cinematography
Jean-Christophe Beauvallet, Jean-Christophe Gaudry, Dino Berguglia, Antoine-Marie Meert
Editor
Martine Deyres, Philippe Boucq, Catherine Catella
Music
Olivier Brisson, Nicola Marinoni
Cast
voices of: Claude Gasc, Irène Gasc, Léon Nurit