Dr. Nise da Silveira arrives in a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and refuses to employ the new and violent electroshock in the treatment of schizophrenics. Ridiculed by doctors, she is forced to take the abandoned Sector for Occupational Therapy, where she would start a revolution through paints, dogs and love.
Roberto Berliner is a documentary filmmaker who has often focused on people who bounce back from severe hardship, such as three blind sisters who survived on the streets of Brazil, and a rock star who suffered a debilitating injury in a plane crash. The indomitable female psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, a real person, is the subject of Berliner’s second narrative feature. This attractive figure introduced Jungian theory to Brazil, and made great strides in art therapy. Her tough attitude in confronting the mental-health establishment is deeply resonant. Since first appearing on TV at the age of five, Gloria Pires, who portrays Nise, has enjoyed a 40-year career as one of Brazil’s leading actresses.