The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, March 23-29

Who's Crazy-Thomas White-Living Theatre

Who’s Crazy? (1966)
Directed by Thomas White
A bus of insane asylum inmates breaks down in a frothy snow-blistered farmland. The inmates easily escape the bus by means of histrionic hilarity. They’re played by actors from the Living Theatre, known at the time for not only breaking the fourth wall, but also living it, and living it they do… The inmates break into a Belgian farmhouse where they engage in a variety of untainted ritualistic activities involving hypnotism, court proceedings, alchemy, a tribalistic wedding ceremony, and an egg-infested feeding frenzy. Finally the cops show up (played by the same so-called actors), yet they are as impervious as the inmates might be, as the inmates, again, easily escape, begging the question, “who is crazy?”

Rescued from the director’s dusty garage shelves, this cantankerous artifact is a crucial document of a youth gone wild by means of current events. To add to the utter madness is master Ornette Coleman’s complete raucous score of the film, complemented by Marianne Faithfull’s occasional vocals, sounding more like a dip into the darkest of Sun Ra, at one point asking, “Is God man? What is Man?” Samuel T. Adams (new digital restoration March 25-27 at Anthology Film Archives; showtimes daily)


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