19 April 2007

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest & In My Language

I just watched One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest for the first time in about seven years. I had always regarded this piece as an amazing character study and a beautifully shot human drama. Watching it today in 2007 I became painfully aware of its shortcomings in terms of its depictions of women as either tramps or sadistic bureaucrats. Yet its inability to be gender equitable bothered me less than its somehow predictable narrative structure and its blantantly ethnocentric construction of the Native American dilemma.

The salient points of the film which redeem it are its cinematography and stellar performances by a perfectly cast ensemble. The art of Milos Forman's directing was flawless; it is the script that poses a problem for me.

The main issue I find is that our theories of psychology and pharmacology have advanced considerably since Cuckoo's Nest was written. Shock therapy and lobotomies have been overshadowed by the pharmaceutical industry. Did the terms ADD and ADHD have relevance in the 70s the way they did in the 90s? I posit that the media landscape itself has had such a drastic effect on the collective human consciousness in the past thirty-odd years that it has made its depiction an entirely different proposition than it was when Cuckoo's Nest was made.

Created by an autistic woman, I find this video far more arresting and inspiring in today's media climate as a vision and interpretation of mental illness. It is a marvel of internet technology that such an individual is able to express herself in this way to such a large audience;

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