Gato Vadio: Films About Mental Illness

A cycle of films about mental illness to be shown at: Todas as quintas de setembro, Noé Alves apresenta… Ciclo de Filmes sobre Distúrbios Mentais:



Porque Gato Vadio como um foro com um grau de fama tem um público cada vez maior e nem todos falam Português, imploro seu perdão por ter escrito em Inglês).

Today’s series is an excellent topical selection about those who suffer from mental illness.


I have several members of my family who have suffered with mental illness.  Too often it is hidden in the shadows because of the fear of its heritability and the misplaced fear of violence.  It is an illness that drains the hopes and resources of a family. It limits marriageability and at times one’s social circle.  Some who suffer are found chained for years to a stake in a hidden room.


There used to be asylums (in both senses of the word) where the mad were protected (or not) from the abuse of those who would.  By definition these people are less able to deal with the demands of society.


In America, in the 1970’s, there was a movement (financially motivated) supported by prescient social and medical scientists to “mainstream” the disabled into a hostile society in the hopes that local outpatient clinics would provide the needed support for those released into society.  It was hoped that integrating with “normal” people would somehow infect the disturbed with sanity.  .What was known was that the expense of caring for the mentally ill would go away and budgets could be balanced on the backs of the defenseless.


Schizophrenia_William-Zhang_JZDespite opposition from those who had a longer view better training could see the bigger picture.  The mentally ill became embarrassingly obvious with grocery carts piled high with all their worldly goods and sleeping on cardboard, in bus shelters, under freeway, and in sewers.  Where ever they could find shelter in their diminished or hallucinatory alternate world.  Sometimes the horror causes secondary illnesses such as alcoholism and addiction to drugs.


Something must be done for these people and America has solved the problem:  America has criminalized mental illness.

In fact, America has the largest incarcerated population in the world.  I cannot argue that Americans are more criminal than any other population in the world.  Poverty, race, mental illness, and the rise of for-profit prisons all contribute to the imprisoned in America.  The rise of longer and longer penalties for crimes are mandated by law and lobbied for by the corporate prison industry, which must show a profit for their shareholders.


There is something amiss when the people (government) criminalize the mentally ill outsources the mentally disturbed it deprives of liberty to a commercial operation with a stake in their continued incarceration.  Why would such a facility even have to be in America?  Deprivation of liberty is a serious matter and should always be a state function.

About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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