Skip to main content

TROUBLED MINDS: THE LITHIUM REVOLUTION

Australia, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Australian Showcase)

Director: Dennis K. Smith

Troubled Minds: The Lithium Revolution Australia

In a backyard shed in the 1940s, a Melbourne doctor discovered an astonishing psychiatric treatment that would change the way we think about mental illness and neuroscience. It would mark the beginning of psychopharmacology'The use of drugs to manage psychiatric conditions.

A psychiatrist and ex-prisoner of war, Dr John Cade was convinced by his wartime experiences that nutrition and body chemistry were determining factors in mental health. At a time when electric shock treatments, lobotomies and Freudian psychotherapy were the dominant approaches, he went looking for chemical alternatives, and after a series of unorthodox (if not bizarre) experiments, he honed in on a simple salt'lithium.

It would take 20 years of struggle before lithium treatment was finally accepted, but Cade and his fellow believers persevered. Their work meant a chance at stability for hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and lithium remains the benchmark for bipolar treatments today.

The latest film from Dennis K. Smith (Rainbow Bird and Monster Man, MIFF 2002) is a sensitively crafted documentary, which skilfully blends dramatic recreation and interviews with Cade's children, medical professionals and historians. Troubled Minds: The Lithium Revolution is an illuminating work.

Dennis K. Smith and John Lewis are guests of the Festival.

D/S Dennis K. Smith P John Lewis WS Film Australia TD Video/Col/2004/52mins

Dennis K. Smith's films include: Rainbow Bird and Monster Man (MIFF 2002).

See also...

PETERSEN

Petersen Australia ... Following the success of Stork and Alvin Purple Tim Burtsall struck gold again in 1974 with Petersen. Working from David Williamson's script Burstall brought to the screen, as ... More »

MADEMOISELLE AND THE DOCTOR

Mademoiselle and the DoctorAustraliaIn an outback shed in the Northern Territory, Dr Philip Nitschke builds his prototype death machine, the Co-Gen. The euthanasia campaigner and former physicist is ... More »

wolf creek

Australia has made a name for itself since the 1960s for mysterious disappearances on its remote stretches of bitumen. And backpackers have often been at the centre of these chilling episodes. Based ... More »

ORANGE LOVE STORY

Orange Love Story AustraliaWearing its heart and intentions very much on its sleeve, this raw and utterly unique new Australian film is a labour of love for cinematographer and director Tom Cowan.In ... More »

MR PATTERNS

Mr Patterns AustraliaMr Patterns tells the story of Geoff Bardon, an art teacher posted to a government settlement in Australia's Western Desert in the early 1970s. In Papunya, Bardon found more than ... More »

JOSH JARMAN

Josh Jarman Australia Marcus Graham is Josh Jarman, a passionate, dedicated playwright who is fed up with his plays being staged in dingy spaces to only a handful of people. His one wish is to have a ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director