The Salpêtrière Asylum: Paris, 1885. Dr. Charcot holds all of Paris in thrall with his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad. But the truth is much more complicated. For Parisian society, the highlight of the year is the Lenten ball - the Madwomen’s Ball - when the great and good come to gawk at the patients of the Salpêtrière. For the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.