La Seconda Ombra Cert. 15 Picture house at FACT

  • Released2000
  • Running time95 minutes
  • GenreDrama

15 April / 7.30pm / The Box / £4, £3 (Members & Concs)


La Seconda Ombra (The Second Shadow) is an Italian language film from director Silvano Agosti (to be shown with English subtitles)

The film examines the Democratic Psychiatry movement that emerged in Italy from the 1960s onwards and struggled for reform of the psychiatric system. It focuses in particular on Franco Basaglia, one of the movement's leading figures and director of psychiatric hospitals in Gorizia and Trieste, with a cast including many people who had actually worked or lived in these institutions.


Basaglia campaigned for Law 180 (widely known as the 'Basaglia Law') that was passed in 1978 and led to the gradual closure of Italy's psychiatric hospitals and their replacement with a whole range of community-based services. These reforms had worldwide impact as other countries followed the Italian model.

The film will be followed by a one hour panel discussion with John Foot and Helen Spandler, chaired by Rich Moth, that will place the Democratic Psychiatry movement in its historical context and consider its legacy for contemporary mental health activism.

John Foot is a historian of contemporary Italy. He teaches in the Department of Italian, University of Bristol. His latest book is a history of radical psychiatry in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s, published in Italian as La Repubblica dei Matti. Franco Basaglia e la psichiatria radicale in Italia, 1961-1978 (Feltrinelli, 2014) which will be appearing with Verso in English in August 2015.

Helen Spandler is a long-standing member of the Asylum magazine collective. Asylum was founded in 1986 inspired by the Italian democratic psychiatry movement. Helen also works at the University of Central Lancashire and is the author of Asylum to Action (JKP, 2006) and co-editor of Madness, Distress and the Politics of Disablement (Policy Press, 2015). Helen will be speaking about Asylum magazine and it’s links to the struggle for democratic psychiatry in the UK.


Rich Moth is a Lecturer in Social Work at Liverpool Hope University, member of the national steering committee of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) and activist in the recent SOS campaign against cuts to mental health services in Liverpool.

The film is part of Society, Politics and Mental Health series selected by activist mental health organisation reVision to explore the social and political contexts of mental health through history.

reVision is an alliance of critically aware thinkers, such as academics, voluntary sector workers, students, social workers, service users and other community activists who are committed to promoting the social model of mental health.


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