Nise: The Heart of Madness

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Nise: The Heart of Madness
The movie poster for Nise: The Heart of Madness
PortugueseNise: O Coração da Loucura
Directed byRoberto Berliner
Produced byRodrigo Letler
Written byPatrícia Andrade
Leonardo Rocha
Roberto Berliner
Flávia Castro
Maurício Lissovsky
Chris Alcazar
Maria Camargo
Based onThe life of Nise da Silveira
StarringGlória Pires
Simone Mazzer [pt]
Julio Adrião
Cláudio Jaborandy [pt]
Fabrício Boliveira [pt]
Roney Villela [pt]
Flávio Bauraqui [pt]
Bernardo Marinho [pt]
Roberta Rodrigues
Augusto Madeira [pt]
Zé Carlos Machado [pt]
CinematographyAndre Horta
Edited byPedro Bronz
Leonardo Domingues
Release date
  • 25 October 2015 (2015-10-25) (Tokyo International Film Festival)
  • 21 April 2016 (2016-04-21) (Brazil)

Nise: The Heart of Madness (Portuguese: Nise: O Coração da Loucura) is a 2015 Brazilian docudrama directed by Roberto Berliner. Starring Glória Pires, the film is based on the life of psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, a pioneer of occupational therapy in Brazil. Nise also features Fabrício Boliveira, Fernando Eiras, Perfeito Fortuna, Roberta Rodrigues, Augusto Madeira, Simone Mazzer, and Zé Carlos Machado.[1]


In 1944, the doctor Nise da Silveira returns to work in a psychiatric hospital in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro and refuses to use electroshock and lobotomy in the treatment of schizophrenics. Insulated from the other doctors, she must reorganize the abandoned occupational-therapy sector, where she forms a new clinical approach of listening and observing, further alienating herself from her colleagues. Insisting that those under her care be referred to as clients, rather than patients, she encourages the freedom of expression through art, discovering her clients' talents. She opens the Casa das Palmeiras, a clinic and studio, at the hospital, and later starts a museum dedicated to her clients' artwork.[1][2]


According to director Roberto Berliner, the idea for Nise came from Bernardo Horta, brother of the film's director of photography, André Horta. André started organizing some of da Silveira's writing, then passed the project to Berliner in 2003. In all, research for the film took 13 years.[3]


The film was released over 3 years in different parts of the world. In 2015, it was released in Japan.[4] Throughout 2016, it was released in Sweden, France, Brazil, and the Netherlands.[5] In 2017, it was released in the United States by Outsider Pictures and Strand Releasing.[2] In 2018, it was released to selected (about 600) screens in mainland China from January 5 through February 4.[6]


Critical response[edit]

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Nise received generally positive reviews with a rating of 86%.[7] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times called it "a mesmerizing drama",[8] Daphne Howland of The Village Voice wrote "the actors’ portrayals ... ring true",[9] Jonathan Holland of The Hollywood Reporter called it "heartwarming but unsentimental",[1] and J. R. Jones of the Chicago Reader wrote that it "has its powerful moments but ... turns into a black-and-white struggle between a caring, enlightened woman and a cadre of hard-hearted, benighted men."[10]


Year Nominee/work Award Result
2015 Nise: The Heart of Madness Tokyo International Film Festival Audience Award for Best Film[11][12] Won
Glória Pires Tokyo International Film Festival Grand Prix for Best Actress[11][12] Won
Nise: The Heart of Madness Rio Film Festival Audience Award[3][2] Won
2016 IndieWire Critic's Poll Best Undistributed Film[13] Nominated
IndieWire Critic's Poll Best Overlooked Film[13] Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Holland, Jonathan (26 April 2017). "'Nise — The Heart of Madness' ('Nise — O Coracao da Loucura'): Rio de Janeiro Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Hopewell, John (15 May 2016). "Cannes: Outsider, Strand Take U.S. On 'Nise'". Variety. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b Gonçalves, Anderson (21 April 2016). ""Nise - O Coração da Loucura" retrata a psiquiatra que descobriu gênios" ["Nise - The Heart of Madness" portrays the psychiatrist who discovered geniuses]. Gazeta do Povo (in Portuguese). GRPcom. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  4. ^ Schilling, Mark (31 October 2015). "Brazilian Drama 'Nise' Wins Tokyo Festival Grand Prix". Variety. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  5. ^ Nise: The Heart of Madness on IMDb
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Nise: The Heart of Madness (Nise: O Coração da Loucura) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  8. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (27 April 2017). "Review: 'Nise', the Therapist Who Resisted Lobotomies". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  9. ^ Howland, Daphne (26 April 2017). "Patient Docu-Drama "Nise: The Heart of Madness" Celebrates a Brazilian Therapist's Breakthrough in Mental-Health Treatment". The Village Voice. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  10. ^ Jones, J.R. (27 April 2017). "Nise: The Heart of Madness". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b Erbland, Kate (26 April 2017). "'NISE: The Heart of Madness' Clip Finds Beauty in Chaos in New Historical Drama". IndieWire. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b Brzeski, Patrick (31 October 2015). "Tokyo Film Festival: Brazilian Drama 'Nise' Wins Grand Prix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  13. ^ a b "2016 IndieWire Critics Poll: Ernesto Diezmartinez". IndieWire. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2017.