AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

12/5/07

CANVAS

Canvas
written and directed by
Joseph Greco

What a great example of why critical women is such an important blog.
Canvas is a feel good film about a woman( Marcia Gay Harden) who becomes mentally ill and has to be hospitalized: her struggle to get well and how her family, husband (award winning actor Joe Pantoliano )and young son(Devon Gearhart) mobilize to help her while continuing to live their seemingly normal lives


This is a film in which the problem people, the objectionable people, the ones who cause such trouble in this world seem to be the woman. This family loves her, they wish her well, they wish she were more in this world than on display as the crazy woman but why? Why must the woman be the 'bad" guy.

It is a film about male bonding. about a son and his father getting on in this troubled environment. It is a film which never really addresses why the mother/wife/woman is ill, what they have done to contribute to her malady. She is just sick, like out of the clear blue sky she starts to hear voices and will go to seemingly any length to curtail the voices she hears that no one else can discern.

Oh my. And these voices are? And her illness can or can not be cured with medicine? or worse, therapy, talking, discovering who she is and what she is about is nonexistant. What happened to an idea that mental illness is more than just a chemical alteration. That it is a function of being human, of trying to fit into a world where the patient feels alienated, and/or threatened.

This film is an embarrassment for woman, for the mentally ill and yet, even I felt compelled to see it to the end, engrossed in its content. I cringed my way through the agony of the narrow mindedness but I didn't turn away from it. That is the point. I am so Hollywood trained that my ability to enjoy this film seems solid and yet the film is alien to all I know and want to see.

I do not recommend this film. It is too sever in its narrow depiction of women and the mentally ill. Perhaps it will be remade, same theme different focus. let's hope so


Linda Z

DVD 2006