Nise: The Heart of Madness

Synopsis: A miracle happened in Brazil on the 1950's. Renowned modern art museums opened their doors to artists nobody ever heard of. Many critics pointed out that theses exhibitions revealed painters that should be ranked amongst the best brazillian artists of the century. It was written that this explosion of art and beauty was a sign that something comparable to the renaissance was happening in Riio de Janeiro. Behind this miracle there was no art academy, patron or dealer, only a psychiatrist, ridiculed by her colleagues, and a painting studio at a mental hospital, in the outskirts of town. The artists were schizophrenic, poor, hospitalized for several decades, abandoned by their families and hopeless according to their doctors. This film tells the story of this "Miracle" and the life of this rebellious, frail and engaging psychiatrist: Dra. Nise da Silveira.
Director(s): Roberto Berliner
  4 wins & 6 nominations.
106 min


Good morning.



The Heart of Madness


Good morning.

I'm Dr. Nise da Silveira,

Dr. Nelson is expecting me.

One second, please.

Eugenia, Dr. Nise is here.

I was waiting for you.

Come with me please.

The cafeteria is now

on the other side.

This is the women's ward

and here is the men's.

Open the door, please.

No, I don't want to.

Stay still.


I don't want to.

Let's go, doctor.

I don't want to.


You've already seen the courtyard.

We let the patients come out

depending on their status.

When the most aggressive ones

are here, nobody goes in.

Let's go, doctor.

- Through there, doctor.

- Thank you.

Well, as I was saying,

the method is

the result of research

carried out by

Egas Moniz, from Portugal,

who has won

the Nobel Prize for medicine.

A lobotomy is prescribed

to psychotic patients

who in obsessive states, show

a high degree of aggressiveness

which prevents them from

having a healthy social life.

The surgery is done

through bilateral trepanation

on the inferior frontal region.

Here you can see

the thalamus and the cut.

This white substance

in the frontal lobe,

is what prevents the connections.

Gentlemen, the results

are very satisfactory.

We are talking about

patients who were responsible

for the destruction of

their families,

and now live in

harmony with them.

In USA, Dr. Walter Freeman

found a cheap and unusual

instrument to do it.

An ice pick

which enabled him to cure thousands

of patients in a short period of time.

Thanks to lobotomy, psychiatry

is now a medical specialty.

Thank you, gentlemen.

I would like to use this moment to

introduce Dr. Nise da Silveira,

who is returning as a

psychiatrist in this hospital.

To continue our meeting,

let's hear

Dr. Marcelo Mouro's lecture

about electroconvulsive therapy.

Doctors, electroconvulsive

therapy is the most

advanced treatment

tor mental illness.

The method was developed in the 30s

and consists of inducing

convulsion through electricity.

Bring in the patient, please.

Let me go.

Get me off of here.

Let me go.

Let me go.

Get me out of here.

Get me out.

Help me!

I don't want to.

This patient suffers

from schizophrenia.

Most cases resistant

to every kind of treatment


after this procedure.

Please, pass me the electrodes.

As you can see,

the electrodes can be used

uni or bilaterally

Then you just turn this on

and press this button.

The convulsion can last

up to 40 seconds.

The patient shouldn't eat tor 2 hours

before the procedure,

as it can cause vomiting.

We have had great results

both in catatonia

and in acute schizophrenia.

Excuse me, doctor,

how is the dosage determined?

The charge should be enough for the

loss of consciousness and convulsion.

How much is enough?

- Depends on each case.

- How about this case?

Around 30 amperes.

How did you reach

this conclusion, Doctor?

By experience.

You'll get used to it.

I don't believe in healing

through violence, Nelson.

Science has evolved

in the past few years.

Our success rate with

lobotomy is up to 90%,

results comparable with the best

surgical centers

in Europe and North America.

I can't do that.

Nise, then you can't treat here.

There is a sector

run by the nurses.

The funds are low, but I think

we can do something there.

I know you're overqualified for that,

but it's what we have for you.


Therapy Sector.

There is so much to do

in this country,

instead of having fun,

cheering up the patient.

Occupational therapy?

Do you know what that is, Nise?

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