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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Mabel Longhetti (Gena Rowlands), wife and mother, desperately wants to please her husband, Nick (Peter Falk) the head of a construction gang - and when they're alone, she does. They get along, and they do love one another. But she feels insecure even with their children, and when people are around, she gets a little out of whack. Eventually, her husband, reluctantly, has her committed.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
An exceptional film. Two truly fantastic performances take us deep into this movie's heart - which is large and generous. John Cassavetes creates a story about humanity that is at once particular - and beautifully, microscopically observed - and universal; it's a study in the complexities of love, in the subtleties of mental disorder and in the way society demands rigid conformity.

As we get to know Mable and Nick, complete with their respective flaws, we get to understand them and that puts their behaviour in context. We sympathise and empathise - and we know just how they feel. That's what Cassavetes achieves so well. Scenes like the one where the doctor (Eddie Shaw) comes over to assess Mabel while Nick's mother (Katherine Cassavetes) watches - and finally lets loose - are shattering.

Cassavetes also captures the most natural performances from the three children; it's as if they were not even aware of the camera, nor had any direction. Their interaction with the adults is phenomenal, given the drama, especially in the climactic family confrontation. The entire cast is outstanding, and the filmmaker needs no tricks to grip our emotions. It's a rare gem, a unique and humane exploration of mental illness through the prism of a loving marriage.

Published January 15, 2009



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE: DVD (M)
(US, 1974)

CAST: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper, Lady Rowlands, Katherine Cassavetes, Matthew Laborteaux, Matthew Cassell, Chrsitina Crisanti, O. G. Dunn, Mario Gallo

PRODUCER: Sam Shaw

DIRECTOR: John Cassavetes

SCRIPT: John Cassavetes

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mitch Breit, Al Ruban

EDITOR: David Armstrong, Sheila Viseltear

MUSIC: Bo Harwood

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Phedon Papamichael

RUNNING TIME: 147 minutes

PRESENTATION: 4:3; DD

SPECIAL FEATURES: none

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Shock

DVD RELEASE: January 10, 2009







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