7 Films About Neuroses & Psychoses That Don’t Get Enough Attention

Peter Dinklage Natalie Wood as Daisy Clover Stig Jarrel

Jonathan Eng writes on CURNBLOG, “Film history is jam-packed with neuroses, psychoses, and character disorders writ large and small. As Vivian Leigh and Dustin Hoffman and Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman can attest, having a DSM-5 condition can lead to an Oscar. Russell Crowe, in A Beautiful Mind, had to settle for a BAFTA.

“When handled properly, onscreen breakdowns can tear at your emotions and stay with you long after the final credits role. Here are seven such on-screen breakdowns from movies that may be a little bit off the beaten path. Some feature outwardly normal characters getting pushed a little bit past their breaking points. Others show characters who walked onto the screen in a psychologically fragile condition. Whatever the diagnosis, chances are good you’ll remember the breakdown.”

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Film Discussion, Bergman on Bergman

Photo of Ingmar Bergman taken during the production of Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället) (1957). Svensk Filmindustri (SF) press photo. Source: Svenska filministitutet.

Photo of Ingmar Bergman taken during the production of Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället) (1957). Svensk Filmindustri (SF) press photo. Source: Svenska filministitutet. Collage by Bill Ectric.

Excerpt from the book: Bergman on Bergman: Interviews With Ingmar Bergman by Stig Bjorkman, Torsten Manns, and Jonas Sima Translated from the Swedish by Paul Britten Austin, The Touchstone Edition, published by Simon & Schuster,1986.  Original Swedish language edition © 1970 by P.A. Norstedt & Soners Forlag. This translation © 1973 by Martin Secker & Warburg Limited

TORSTEN MANNS: You have another play-within-the-play in The Hour of the Wolf. Are you a bit fixated on this sort of interlude?

INGMAR BERGMAN: After one has been working awhile on a full-length film, it’s a relief to interpolate something different. There sits your audience, looking in one direction. And suddenly you stick your head out and say – take a look over there for a while! And everyone turns his head. It gives them exercise. It’s as simple as that.

There was a good deal of discussion about the bit in Persona where the film snaps. A lot of wiseacres thought the interruption silly. They said it distracted the audience from what was going on, etc. Personally, I’m of exactly the opposite opinion. If you distract the audience temporarily from the course of events and then push them into it again, you don’t reduce their sensibility and awareness, you heighten it. In A Passion I’ve four clean acts – the film is built up in four blocks, and each block is rounded off with an aria. The actors appear and comment on their roles, place themselves slightly outside it…

… JONAS SIMA: The French nouvelle vague experimented with these ‘distancing’ effects. Belmondo, in A Bout de Souffle, turns direct to the audience now and again and comments on what’s going on. At the time this was regarded as something new and shocking.

BERGMAN: But it’s as old as the hills, don’t you realize that? In the theatre! The author turns directly to his audience. It’s simple and delightful.

Newton, Burdon, Bergman

Congratulations to Maud Newton for winning the Narrative Magazine Annual Fiction Prize for her novel excerpt, When the Flock Changed.

Former Animal superstar Eric Burdon talks to Bradley Mason Hamlin about writing, filmmaking, shady record deals, and more at Mystery Island.

 On the House of the Rising Sun musical arrangement, Burdon says, “We didn’t have the time or the space to put the name of everyone on the credits. M.J., our inventive manager had a plan or maybe he and Mr. Price had a plan. ‘Lets put Alan’s name on the single for now and we will sort it out later, we’re all good friends here!’ Star-struck, drunk & stoned–we went for it in a hurry. There are many stories in the rock and roll business but this one takes the biscuit; it was the first of the great rip-offs and stands in history as that.”

 On writing, Burdon says, “Since the early days I used to write about my experiences while on the road and about life in general. I would dress them up with collages and photographs. When I met Nina Simone she took a look at one of my journals and she told me, ‘You are a music historian.’”

I recently reread Bergman on Bergman: Interviews With Ingmar Bergman by Stig Bjorkman, Torsten Manns, and Jonas Sima, translated by Paul Britten Austin.

In the February 24, 1969 interview, Swedish film director Bergman balks at questions that are more like statements, explaining, “Every time you’ve put concrete questions to me I’ve tried to express myself in my own way and give you an answer. But when Torsten delivers a little lecture – however interesting I find it in itself – and then leaves me a wide field to expatiate on, I feel depressed, because it isn’t a concrete question. For me my work, or whatever you like to call it – these thirty films – are something solid, something I’ve made. So I must have concrete questions if I’m to give you concrete answers.”

That sounds like something Jeff VanderMeer told me early on when I interviewed him for Literary Kicks (his statement didn’t make it into the interview. Maybe it should have – it’s actually kind of instructive).