From the Chicago Reader (March 25, 1994). Although I’ve posted this once before, it seems worth bringing it back now, upgraded, to recall one of the neglected screen appearances of Maria Schneider (1952-2011). — J.R.
*** SAVAGE NIGHTS
Directed by Cyril Collard
Written by Collard and Jacques Fieschi
With Collard, Romane Bohringer, Carlos Lopez, Corine Blue, Claude Winter, Denis D’Archangelo, and Jean-Jacques Jauffret.
If memory serves, the first time I ever heard of Sylvia Plath was the first time a lot of other people heard of her — in the mid-60s, a few years after she committed suicide, when her posthumous collection Ariel was published. I recall a teacher of mine in graduate school remarking that Plath’s suicide validated her late poetry, implying that if she hadn’t actually taken her own life, poems such as “Lady Lazarus” and “Daddy” wouldn’t have meant as much as they did — indeed, may not even have been “as good.”
The remark offended me at the time, but in retrospect I wonder if in some awful, seldom-acknowledged way my teacher was right. Many of us prefer to believe that works of art should be self-justifying, and therefore demand to be taken on their own terms, without “outside” information, but the fact remains that the hyperactive media and life itself rarely offer us that luxury.… Read more »