A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE Director: JOHN CASSAVETES U.S.A| 1975 COLOUR 146 MIN. Book cinema tickets THIS IS CASSAVETES’ FUNNIEST, MOST PAINFUL AND MOST INSIGHTFUL TREATMENT OF THE PRESSURES OF FAMILY. It came out at a time when the ‘politics of family’, and particularly the notion of ‘madness’ as something created by the demands of others rather than an individual psychosis, had become a hot topic. This led to Woman being decried as a thesis film, a schematic illustration of the theories of R. D. Laing. Crucially, though, the construction of the film and its distribution of sympathies are far from schematic. The woman of the title is a housewife, Mabel (Gena Rowlands), who’s under the influence of vague longings and dissatisfactions. Her husband Nick (Peter Falk) is not so much unsympathetic to her waywardness as socially embarrassed by it. He fills the house with family, friends and workmates, and then is outraged when Mabel’s overtures to them begin to seem sexual. The stage is set for one of the most dramatically sustained and emotionally excruciating sequences in all Cassavetes: the family decision to ‘put Mabel away’. Director: JOHN CASSAVETES U.S.A| 1975 COLOUR 146 MIN.