In memory of the late Miloš Forman, director of great films likeHateorAmadeuswe present you today one of his greatest films:Flight above a cuckoo's nest (1975). The latter is probably the one who offered his best role to Jack Nicholson.
Flight over a cuckoo's nestwas made by Forman, who was inspired by Ken Kesey's homonymous novel.This is one of those great movies that has become a classic in the history of cinema.This film has given us unforgettable scenes, scenes to which other films have alluded. The story highlights Nicholson's sublime acting, among other things.
Flight over a cuckoo's nestwas awarded 5 Oscars. We findRandle McMurphy who is sentenced to prison. To avoid this, he decides to pretend to be crazy.He will be interned in a psychiatric hospital where he will be evaluated and will coexist with the rest of the patients.
There we find the nurse Ratched, who will be the main protagonist. Ratched is an uncompromising woman who treats patients with contempt and sufficiency.McMurphy will be a breath of fresh air for the other patients. He will awaken their desires for freedom.This will lead to an infinite number of clashes with the nurse Ratched.
This film denounces asylums and mental institutions. He criticizes how "crazy people" have been treated throughout history. It is a war cry for all those eternal forgotten and a call to the freedom of all individuals.
The crazy ones inFlight over a cuckoo's nest
Who are the crazy? The answer to this question may seem simple. But if we dive into this story, we see that the idea of "normal" changes with time.Social norms, advances in medicine, science and other areas have influenced the conception of madness. What at one time is considered a mental illness may not be at another time.
Madmen have not always been the same. They were not excluded in the same way.Sometimes, we tried to "treat them" by subjecting them to treatments such as lobotomy. At other times, they were persecuted to death. Everything that comes out of the "normality", the "conventional" is, at a given moment, persecuted. This happened in the Middle Ages with witchcraft or with certain diseases like leprosy.History of madness in the classical erais a work by Foucault that takes up all this idea of exclusion and persecution of madness.
Foucault said in his work that with time, we tried to transform the madman. To "train" him to become normal. How was this result achieved? Using authority and some treatments that only canceled the patient. By transforming him, therefore, into a submissive person. This is precisely what we observe inFlight over a cuckoo's nest. McMurphy, who is not crazy but delinquent, arrives at the asylum and sees all these people acting without will.
The nurse plays with the fear of the sick. We see it with the case of Billy, a young stutter who is not sure of himself and has tried to commit suicide several times.Ratched is friends with Billy's mother. When he does something wrong, she puts pressure on him. She reminds him that she tells everything to her mother. The madmen of this institution obey without complaining. They are afraid, afraid of electroshock and lobotomy if they do not obey.
McMurphy, since he is not submissive, is a character who refuses to obey. He seeks freedom. It is interesting to see how he awakens this same desire in the rest of the patients.How he managed to get them out of this state when they had been completely canceled and manipulated. In the end, they all manage to face the nurse Ratched.
Seeing her authority challenged, she will do everything possible so that McMurphy does not get away with it easily.Ratched is the main antagonist of the film. It is a person who seems sensible but who however imposes his will on patients.She puts pressure on them, torments them and manipulates them as she pleases. Why? To behave like "normal people", submissive and without any critical ability.
In search of freedom
From now on, the article containsspoilers.Do not continue reading if you have not seen the movie!In the midst of all this madness, this unreason, we can not forget that these patients are also people. They have feelings, desires, sufferings.Nurse Ratched has played her part so well that she can have a whole army of "madmen" under control. As if it were a flock of sheep.
It is interesting to pay attention to the title of the film.The title in English (One flew over the Cuckoo's nest)can be interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, in a familiar register,cuckoo's nestis a way of naming fools in a deprecatory way. On the other hand, it refers to an infantile rhyme that is mentioned in the novel:"There were three geese flying, one flying east, the other west and the last over a cuckoo's nest."This refers to the freedom of each individual to choose his own path in life.
If we follow this last meaning, we realize that this idea of destiny in the form of a triad is also present in the film. Freedom is the engine that moves McMurphy. She pushes him to challenge the rules of the institution. However, he also stands in solidarity with other people and tries to guide them, in turn, towards freedom.
McMurphy will gradually move towards this release of patients. First, by offering them to watch a baseball game. Then go fishing on a boat and take them out of the monotony. Finally, with the party and the presence of women.McMurphy is sad for Billy because he is young and has hardly lived. Something also binds him to the Indian chief, an enigmatic and lonely character.
By taking up the idea of the triad, we see that three characters reach freedom. Billy, McMurphy and the Indian Chief. These are the three birds of rhyme.The first, as we have said, is a young man full of insecurities and problems with his mother. Ratched knows it and buried his desires for freedom. McMurphy woke them up, giving Billy the chance to have fun with a woman. At the moment he is discovered, Billy faces two perspectives: the fear of consequences and the happiness he feels for himself. But he can not bear all the pressure Ratched puts on him. He ends up committing suicide but reaches, with death, a certain form of freedom.
McMurphy is convicted for disobeying. It is lobotomizedand remains in an almost vegetative state, without will and without freedom. The leader, who pretended to be a deaf-mute for years, will have pity on him. He will kill him to free him. This act is a favor because McMurphy released him and opened his eyes.This last character is, ultimately, the only one to reach a real freedom: he manages to escape from the asylum.
McMurphy managed to get the patients out of that Platonic cave in which Ratched had locked them up. The final scene of the Indian leader running towards freedom is truly revealing and hopeful.It does not matter if some have had to die to reach freedom. No matter what destiny awaits the Indian chief. They triumphed, and that's what matters.
"I must be crazy to be in an asylum like this."
-Flying over a cuckoo's nest