American Film Institute

Film, even from its silent days in the 1920s, has proven to be an art form particularly suitable for handling intimate psychological subjects. It is a medium of observation, the almost clinical recording of human behavior, with every nuance of expression and gesture enhanced in the close-up. As a highly controlled flow of images, film is uniquely able to reflect the flux of mental and emotional experience. Madness, which raises basic questions about the nature of these experiences, has been a very popular subject for filmmakers. For the film artist, madness is a subject that probes the darkest and most hidden side of our being.