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'Til Madness Do Us Part
Northwest Film Forum
Seattle, WA
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'Til Madness Do Us Part
Master director Wang Bing documents the inmates of an isolated mental institution in rural Zhaotong, in southwest China's Yunnan province, in 'Til Madness Do Us Part. Within the facility's gates, the patients are confined to one floor of a single building. Once locked on that floor, with little contact from the outside world, anything goes. The facility's inmates have been committed for different reasons: perhaps they have a developmental disability; perhaps they committed murder; perhaps they angered local officials. But once inside, they all share the same life and cramped living quarters, staring at a barren, iron-fenced courtyard and seeking comfort and human warmth wherever they can find it. Compared to films including Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies (1967) and Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975), the immersive 'Til Madness Do Us Part uses handheld camerawork and digital video to interrogate mental illness and criminality, therapy and incarceration, and the relationship between individuals and society. The film is a riveting, terrifying, surprising and tender documentary portrait that viewers will not soon forget. (Text credit: Icarus Films)

At first the film is jarring, raw, frightening; then, desensitized by repetition, the shocking becomes routine, and one squirms at the recurrence of familiar scenes, which seem to add nothing to what weve already learned, though of course they do by the mere fact of their repetition; finally, there is a sort of passive acceptance. When the credits rolled I was actually shaken, for after so much time in the booby hatch you begin to accept this world as the only one, to almost feel that this movie has become your life now, just circling, circling, circling, and that whatever else you had going on before is just a distant afterthought. -- Nick Pinkerton, Art Forum


Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
United States




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