COMMITTED: THE MENTAL INSTITUTION IN FILM
Nitehawk Cinema, New York | March 2015
In the late 19th century, before psychoanalysis and drug therapy emerged, there was the dominating theory that architecture played a crucial role in a mental patient’s treatment. Although its therapeutic function became antiquated, cinema solidified the idea of the mental institution as the site where craziness gets visualized. The Committed series screens films – Shock Corridor, Spellbound, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Suddenly, Last Summer, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Girl, Interrupted – where the tenuous line between sanity and insanity is explored within the confines of this particular space. The films expose issues of race, class and gender as these buildings become a place for terror, introspection, recovery and escape for each of our committed characters.