Dead When I Got Here - Asylum from the Madness

Sorry, this video is not available

Dead When I Got Here

Your Library

Compassion, pathos and life affirming redemption are discovered by a man as he manages a mental asylum run by its own patients in Juarez, Mexico. The seeds of hope profoundly brought to life by his daughter in LA who thought him dead, finding him during the making of this timeless film.

Infested with gangrene and unable to walk, Josue was mentally deranged, his malnourished body punctured by decades of drug abuse. Police casted Josue out of the deadly streets of Juarez into the desert and dumped him in a mental asylum run by its own patients. Assisted by patients employing empathy as the only means of survival, Josue transcended certain death by discovering compassion in his darkest hours. Six years later, Josue manages the asylum. Now it is his job to give drugs to the sick; to help them walk; to assist in recovering from the same trauma he experienced while living in the streets of the world's most violent city. 120 patients negotiate madness with compassion in spite of the charnel house that lies beyond the asylum walls. These untouchables have made their own promised land. Their asylum from the madness outside.

Josue visits the demolished house he inhabited with fellow drug addicts, murderers and thieves in Juarez. He's told that his old friends are now dead and his brothers refuse to see him. Josue rallies his new found family of patients. They burn effigies in Juarez to exorcise the trauma from the streets they were ejected from. Attempting to reconcile his broken history, Josue dreams of his estranged daughter in California - last seen 22 years ago. He asks the film maker to look for his daughter. Pictures are posted on the internet. Josue and his daughter make contact and agree to meet. The itinerant father knows he cannot explain his absence. Perhaps forgiveness can lead to a new beginning. Having reunited with his own flesh and blood, Josue continues to live and work in the asylum. The long shadows of trauma cast by murder city are a burden he now confronts with new vitality.

Directed by Mark Aitken, Executive Produced by Charles Bowden.

WINNER - Scottish Mental Health Film Festival 2015

SPECIAL MENTION - Docs DF, Mexico 2015

"Mark Aitken's marvellous film takes us on a journey into a closed world where everybody has a terrible often brutal tale to tell and yet, within this seemingly hellish space, we find redemption and compassion in their purest forms." - Dr Gareth Stanton, Department of Media & Communications, Goldsmiths University

"Made with integrity and compassion, DEAD WHEN I GOT HERE is a privilege to watch. Bathed in light despite the darkness of the subject matter and with a closing image as beautiful as anything you will find in Bresson or Tarkovsky, it is one of the finest examples of documentary filmmaking I've ever seen." - Scott Graham, Jury member - Scottish Mental Health Film Festival