Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Robert Altman, Susannah York
Produced by Tommy Thompson, Al Locatelli
Starring Susannah York, Marcel Bozzuffi, Rene Auberjonois, Cathryn Harrison, Hugh Millais
Schizoid episodes to which a children’s authoress (York) succumbs over the span of a holiday weekend vividly manifest her indignation, execration and sundered psychological dualism when progressively salacious and inimical interactions with an insufferable male trio comprising her smug, deceased lover (Bozzuffi), heedless husband (Auberjonois) and his lascivious, boorishly embittered friend (Millais) furnish insight to her frustrations and desiderata…but those veritable among them may not evince her genuine quiddity as do the fidelity of others illusory. Eschewing flashy effects for tart and urgent personations by his gifted cast and narrative legerdemain effected with adroit editing, Altman ingeniously surveys the topography of his protagonist’s immediate environs and pathology alike, exploiting the gorgeous vales, peaks, cascades and capes of Powerscourt Estate in Leinster, Ireland for a setting as alluring yet implicitly forbidding as its subject. Suspense by peradventure concerning transgressions real or delusory is elegantly sustained by a script that nimbly balances thrill and drama whilst showcasing histrionic flair to illustrate scenarios in which a woman burdened by acuity struggles to tolerate and contend with the superficiality of her relations. John Williams’ memorably minacious motifs performed on strings and piano are frequently punctuated by Tsutomu Yamashita’s cacophonous percussion in a fresh collaborative score that emphasizes without ever diverting from the picture’s proceedings. York narrates key scenes with excerpts from her debut juvenile fantasy novel In Search of Unicorns that beseem her character’s deranged transports.
Recommended for a double feature paired with Let’s Scare Jessica to Death.