A Woman Under the Influence

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Director: John Cassavetes Run Time: 165 min. Format: 35mm Rating: PG

Release Year: 1972

Starring: Fred Draper, Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk

Introduction by Kim Gordon! Part of VICE Presents: The Film Foundation Screening Series at Nitehawk Cinema, John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence shows the unraveling of a young suburban wife’s sanity and the impact it has on her family. 

Mabel (Gena Rowlands) is a young wife and mother whose increasing mental illness presents a real challenge to her husband Nick (Peter Falk) and their blue collar Italian family. Her madness is subtle; what first appears simply as eccentric and quirky behavior soon delves into increasingly dangerous situations for Mabel. Revealing the range of emotional bursts, it becomes clear in A Woman Under the Influence that Mabel’s actions are a potential danger to her children and that’s when her husband has to make the difficult decision to have her institutionalized.

As with the majority of Cassavetes films, the improvisational style of acting lends a realistic quality and while the instability of the main character remains steady, this method makes the viewer feel as if the film itself could go anywhere. The performances by Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands are nothing short of electrifying. Rowlands is breathtakingly beautiful even in her most painful episodes while Falk’s loving devotion to his wife, even at her ugliest, is palpable. It is unequivocally one of the greatest romances of modern cinema.

*A portion of each ticket sale goes towards The Film Foundation. Tickets also include complimentary drinks at an after-party in Nitehawk’s downstairs bar!

A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (1974, d. John Cassavetes):
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation. 

Print courtesy of Faces Distribution and The Film Foundation Conservation Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

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