Last night there was nothing on tv, so Denis and I opted to watch a movie that I had on my Netflix queue that was airing on the True Stories network. Now, bear in mind it was on the TRUE STORIES network, and yet the first moment of the film said, “All characters are fictitious and not related to any living person, blah blah blah.” Denis and I were both confused. Is it a true story, or isn’t it?
By the end of the movie, I sat shell-shocked and horrified. The movie was Das Experiment, a 2001 German film about a simulated prison experiment gone awry. It was a devastating movie – but because of the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, I thought it was FICTION.
Not so. Introducing the real event that inspired the movie: The Stanford Prison Experiment, which took place in 1971.
Watching the movie last night I couldn’t help but make parallels with the Iraqi prisoner situation in Abu Grahib, especially when one of the “prison guards” said something about humiliation being an effective tool to subdue inmates. My mind flashed immediately to the abuse in the Iraqi prison. Sure enough, upon finding the Stanford site this morning I saw that the professor in charge of the experiment also made the obvious connection.
It was a disturbing movie – if only because it shows that ordinary people can be extraordinarily evil in certain circumstances – even if they are meek and mild in “real life”.
A definitely must see for everyone over the age of 17 and most definitely with any interest in psychoanalysis.