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    A Very Crazy Asylum

    Presented by at Harvard Film Archive

    April 29, 2012


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    A Very Crazy Asylum

    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...

    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

    Harvard Film Archive Cinematheque
    24 Quincy Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    Full map and directions

    Admission Info:

    $9.00 - Regular Admission
    $7.00 - Non-Harvard Students, Harvard Faculty and Staff, and Senior Citizens
    Regular HFA screenings are free for all Harvard students with a valid photo ID.


    General Day and Time Info:

    7:00 pm


    phone: 617.495.4700 or 496.3211


    Accessibility Information:


    Official Website


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