Video (EN, 1 h 32 min)
Did You Used to be R.D. Laing? (1989)
Full documentary portrait of Ronald David Laing (1927-1989) filmed in Vancouver by Kirk Tougas and Tom Shandel during the last two years of Laing’s life.
Released on Channel Four (UK) in October 1989.
“Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing gained a reputation in the late 1960′s for his radical objection to conventional psychiatry.
His early books “The Divided Self” and “The Politics of Experience” questioned the right of society to proclaim itself sane and others mad.
Protesting the “outrageous violence” inflicted on patients by drastic therapies like electric shock, he generated controversy with his willingness to try psychedelic drugs, meditation, and other unconventional techniques in search of a healing common ground between doctor and patient.
Now in his early 60′s, after some 35 years of professional practice, he agreed to be videotaped in public lectures and private conversations, giving this portrait of Ronald David Laing, psychiatrist.”
“Drawing on stories from Laing’s own life and from his patients’ experiences, and following him through a series of lectures and workshops, the film presents a portrait of the radical psychiatrist as an engaging, witty and irreverent character.
Laing shares his insights into the art of therapy, the lies we tell each other in the name of love, the recurring patterns of behavior that sometimes can be traced to birth, and the regrettable human instinct to suppress any behavior and thought that is strange or disturbing.
The film reveals its subject as a thinker of great originality and genius whose compelling charisma and gusto made him an equally effective storyteller and prankster.”
“The film itself is a fine example of the subtle directness and simplicity that Laing asks for, being at once convivial and co-present.” — The Guardian
“Fascinating profile of the radical psychiatrist, the viewing surprise of the week.” — The Sunday Times
“Laing is pure pleasure to watch, a huge spirit, genuinely loving and completely honest. This portrait of him is completely inspiring.” — The Vancouver Sun