AFFLICTION
1997, Lionsgate, 114 min, USA/Canada, Dir: Paul Schrader

Writer-director Paul Schrader’s adaptation of the Russell Banks novel focuses on New Hampshire policeman Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte, in one of his best performances), forced to confront personal demons as he investigates a suspicious hunting accident. The top-notch cast includes Sissy Spacek, Willem Dafoe, Mary Beth Hurt and James Coburn, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Whitehouse’s abusive father.


BADLANDS
1974, Warner Bros., 95 min, USA, Dir: Terrence Malick

The first feature from visionary maverick Terrence Malick, based on the Charles Starkweather-Carol Fugate murder spree of the late 1950s, stars Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as innocent, amoral young killers flashing across the desolate American landscape like brushfire. A violent folktale for the modern age, brilliantly written and directed by Malick, and photographed by Brian Probyn, Tak Fujimoto and Stevan Larner.


3 WOMEN
1977, 20th Century Fox, 124 min, USA, Dir: Robert Altman

Director Robert Altman’s dazzlingly brilliant study of three different women who have more in common than one initially imagines, with everything from consumer culture to macho role-playing skewered as the narrative unfolds. Clueless but sweet Millie (Shelley Duvall), working at a convalescent resort, takes young, naive Pinky (Sissy Spacek) under her wing, and both become gradually caught up in the strange relationship between reclusive artist Willie (Janice Rule) and her husband (Robert Fortier, who seems to be channeling Hunter S. Thompson). Fascinatingly offbeat and at times frightening, as the heart of the characters’ lives is stripped bare to reveal a quirky core as empty and arid as their desert community.


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