John Cassavetes Pauline Kael - Essay

Pauline Kael

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The theories of R. D. Laing the poet of schizophrenic despair, have such theatrical flash that they must have hit John Cassavetes smack in the eye. His new film, A Woman Under the Influence, is the work of a disciple: it's a didactic illustration of Laing's vision of insanity, with … Mabel Longhetti [as] the scapegoat of a repressive society that defines itself as normal. The core of the film is a romanticized conception of insanity, allied with the ancient sentimental mythology of madness centering on the holy fool and with the mythology about why Christ was crucified. The picture is based on the idea that the crazy person is endowed with a clarity of vision that the warped society can't tolerate, and so is...

(The entire section is 860 words.)