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Opium: Diary of a Madwoman

Ulrich Thomsen, Kirsti Stubø, Zsolt László, Eniko Borcsok, Gyöngyvér Bognár, Roland Rába
morphine | opium poppy
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Blog entry

Patient Gizella, restrained, in a hydrotherapy tank. (0:02)

Psychiatrist Dr. Brenner thinks as a horse-drawn carriage brings him to the asylum: “A terrible and depressing thought: I no longer have any inclination to write. I feel no need of writing since I've been dealing with psychoanalysis. Yet analysis only brings suffering, bitter recognition... I feel as if I’ve gone dumb. ” (0:05)

Gizella and other patients look out from behind bars as Brenner enters. (0:05)

As a lobotomy pick hovers near the eyeball of a patient Professor Winter says, “The deranged mind is just like the broken mechanism of a clock.”
He taps the pick with his hammer.
“The next step is that we sever the nerve and isolate the frontal lobe. (0:06)

Brenner removes a needle and syringe from a case. “Before that, at dawn, I had a light breakfast on the train, then two milligrams of morphine. Actually a long, never ending journey and depressing thoughts of my new work.” (0:08)

Brenner breaks the glass door of a cabinet to get a bottle labeled “Morphine.” He injects his abdomen.
“But he, the one who has forever been obsessed with poison, should extract 14 hours to himself from every day.” (0:13)

Gizella struggles in her hospital bed. Her movements suggest opisthotonus. (0:16)

Brenner: “I have begun my service at the Winter Clinic. I still have no single rotten thought that is worth putting down on paper, but at least I can get the morphine easily.” (0:18)

Winter reads to Brenner, “Assuming that you start smoking opium as a strong, mature man... If I understand correctly this story is the confession of an opium smoker... Tell me, where do you get this insight from?”
”I have a patient. Her name is Gizella Klein... Psychoanalysis, superego, penis envy.” (0:19)

Winter(?) describes Gizella as an “undernourished female patient.” (0:22)

Gizella describes delusional thoughts. (0:23)

Gizella in session with Brenner. She tells him, “I’m totally crazy.” (0:25)

Nuns restrain Gizella in a cot. (0:28)

Needle and syringe lie next to a vial labeled “MORPHINE.”
Brenner draws the drug into the syringe.
“Morphine total: 170 centigrams. Average per day: 06 centigrams.” (0:29)

A nun calls Gizella, who ignores her orders to stop writing, “Obsessed!” (0:32)

Gizella, in another meeting with Brenner, replies that she came to the asylum, “Because I’m mad.”
Brenner: “And why did you go mad?”
Gizella: “Why did I go mad? Because I have no brain.”
Brenner asks her to free associate. Other patients undergo various somatic treatments. (0:33)

In another meeting Brenner has Gizella voice her associations to picture cards. He has her memorize associated words. (0:36)

Winter administers shock treatments to Gizella. (0:39)

Brenner tells agitated Gizella, “Professor Winter has decided that you will be my patient from now on.” (0:43)

Brenner makes hospital rounds with a nun. “Increase the dosage sister.” (0:44)

Syringes and needles. (0:44)

Brenner’s needle pierces the cap of a vial. “My morphine doses have risen to terrible levels. It is far beyond the largest doses so far.” (0:47)

Sister Hortenzia orders Gizella restrained in a chair for force-feeding. (0:48)

Doctors treat Gizella using a machine that rotates her body. (0:50)

A nun finds Gizella writing and calls her “Obsessed!” (0:59)

Winter watches Gizella’s hydrotherapy. (1:00)

Winter tells Brenner, “Gizella is not your patient anymore.”
Referring to her writing: ”Because it makes her hysterical.”
Brenner: “Being banned from writing is what makes her hysterical.” (1:06)

Gizella’s roommate swallows a razor blade. Nuns remove her body. (1:11)

Brenner: “This afternoon I injected another dose and started to feel guilty.” (1:15)

Brenner cuts into a opium poppy with a scalpel and squeezes the juice into a small pan which he heats over a flame before drawing it into a syringe. Using his necktie as a tourniquet he injects his arm. He makes love to Gizella. (1:16)

Brenner begins to write once more, copying Gizella’s work. (1:23)

Gizella in hydrotherapy, then hanging from restraints. (1:28)

Gizella tells Brenner: “I am eaten alive. I am slowly rotting.” (1:30)

Surgical instruments, including the lobotomy pick. (1:35)

Brenner injects Gizella with an unidentified drug. He performs a lobotomy on her. (1:38)