"Smyth’s tenderness has a surprisingly confrontational effect."
Lincoln Rout, Gerard Smyth
1996 observational Documentary. 8 months spent at the Templeton Centre, home to 480 intellectually disabled residents live in timeless seclusion on the Canterbury Plains.
Eighty years ago intellectually and often physically disabled people were removed from mainstream community to be locked away in institutions. Their seldom seen successors are today often seen to be mistakes of nature, repulsive and alien.
But now the climate is changing. De-institutionalization is the catch word and the politicians are determined to persevere with their decision to close the Templeton Centre sited on the outskirts of Christchurch, and return its residents to our neighbour-hoods.
As a Christchurch film-maker I saw the need to inform an introduce to main stream audiences a largely forgotten New Zealand sub culture. In all the countless media stories about this contentious issue, no one has asked the group at the eye of the storm-the intellectually disabled-of their dreams and aspirations.