Les heures heureuses (Our Lucky Hours)

Les heures heureuses (Our Lucky Hours)

  • Live screening: Wed, Oct 21, 8:45pm | Virtual Q&A: Thu, Oct 22, 5pm
  • Available to stream online: Mon, Oct 19, 8:45pm to Wed, Oct 21, 8:45pm

ASL Interpreted, Open Captions

Martine Deyres / 2019 / French with English subtitles / France / Switzerland / Belgium / 77 min / North American Premiere

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

Weaving recently discovered archival materials with current interviews, this captivating documentary presents the instigators of such unconventional approaches between 1936 and the mid-1970s: Spanish Dr. Tosquelles, a communist persecuted by Franco, and his colleague Lucien Bonaffé, both pioneers of ‘institutional psychology’. They emphasized social and cultural activities that supported patients in 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 trailblazer of de-colonisation theories, Frantz Fanon. Although over 45,000 psychiatric patients died in French hospitals between 1939-1945; Les heures heureuses is a testament and urgent appeal to apply courageousness and inventiveness in today’s mental health healing spaces.

Screening with

Les Voix du dedans
Elina Chared | 2019 | France | French with English subtitles | 25 mins

A portrait film of a woman who fights to exist in tandem with her gift for hearing voices. In a cinematic verité glimpse of daily life, somewhere between suffering, optimism and recovery. Marieanne intimately conveys how she continually re-creates, performs and sometimes loses faith.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Q&A with Martine Deyres

Following the screening of Les heures heureuses, join filmmaker Martine Deyres to discuss her latest film and her remarkable use of archival material to tell the story of the French psychiatric institution Saint-Alban.



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