1963, Ben Barry & Association, 101 min, USA, Dir: Samuel Fuller

A Pulitzer Prize-hungry journalist (Peter Breck) goes undercover in a mental institution with hopes of solving a murder case…but as the environment overtakes him, his insanity becomes more than an act. With Constance Towers, Gene Evans.

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.

1975, Janus Films, 88 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Margit Carstensen (THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT) is spell-binding as housewife Margot Staudte, whose staid, middle-class existence descends into inexorable madness with her second pregnancy. Fassbinder is in his element here with this deeply riveting psychological portrait. Originally made for television, the film is as radically, ecstatically far from a “TV movie” as can be. In German with English subtitles.

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