A Very Crazy Asylum

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About the film

A Very Crazy Asylum

A Very Crazy Asylum

Release Date: September 21, 1970

Year    :   1970
Slogan    :   «»
Genres    :   Comedy
Production Companies    :   Difilm, Produções Cinematográficas R.F. Farias, LC Barreto
Director    :   Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Producers    :   Luiz Carlos Barreto, Roberto Farias, César Thedim
Writers    :   Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Machado de Assis
RunTime    :   79 mins.

In another literary adaptation – this time Machado de Assis’ novella O Alienista – and his first color film, dos Santos unleashes an extravagant, maddening excoriation of Brazil’s military dictatorship of the 1970s. As usual, the director exploits all cinematic constituents in his palette – a radically intrusive and discordant soundtrack, non sequitur editing, exaggerated camera angles and all manner of carnivalesque pageantry – to illustrate the tale of a doctor/priest on a mission to discover truth through the study of madness. The population of his asylum grows as his definition of sanity fluctuates until it finally threatens to incorporate the entire town. The film’s own irrational reversals and allegorical codes gleefully mock the arbitrariness of authoritarianism in all its varied guises. -Harvard Film Archive

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