Young therapist Vincent (Warren Beatty) is a war veteran who works at a private sanitarium. Vincent’s life gradually becomes unhinged as he falls for Lilith (Jean Seberg), an unstable and highly manipulative patient. Stephen (Peter Fonda), another patient, also becomes enamored with Lilith…
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
What an interesting film! Every couple of seconds I picked up something from the mise-en-scène that was trying to be artistic, although it didn't always work. I'm an atheist, so I was rolling my eyes a bit at all the religion talk, but this film is definitely a hidden gem! Worth a watch and with really interesting female-male gender relations.
This movie rocked. The transgressiveness of Beatty falling for mental patient Seberg was the least of it. "Lilith" is a movie with some of the most effective blocking, framing and scene-to-scene transitions I think I've ever seen. I had a heightened emotional sense just from seeing how the characters' eyes, faces and bodies were framed within the screen. Great supporting cast characterizations as well.
***1/2 . Interesting to observe how every Robert Rossen heroes tell a little bit about the director. I wonder how Warren Beatty could describe himself as a war veteran, Korean war was over then for 10 years and he couldn't have fought in Vietnam. Also note that if nymphomania was a syndrome of mental illness in the USA of the 50's and 60's, no one seems to care about it nowadays. I love cinema. Recommended.
Rewatched it and found it dated, over-dramatic and full of preconceived ideas about insanity. What stands out is the oniric tone of some superimpositions, editing associations or visual motifs (the river or flowing water emerges as a strong metonymic representation of desire, sex or Lilith herself). Yet, it seemed to me a shock film and I don't like that: too many zooms, handheld shots and one weak, easy ending.
Great direction and a great cast are Lilith's highlights and as I'm sure was Robert Rossen's intent, I felt like I needed to check into an institution by the end of the movie. This one is full of little unexplained moments that will either make the movie or absolutely piss you off. Take it for what its worth...
Rossen conjures a powerful sense of unease throughout. Although the basic premise of an untrained intern being given so much responsibility is unrealistic, there is a sophistication in the depiction of the clinical supervision and, most impressively, in how Rossen presents dysfunction as a complicit relational process. The psychological deterioration is not too fanciful, Beatty is credible and Seberg is excellent
Despite the strength of the performances (especially Jean Seberg's as the ultimate manic-pixie-dream-girl) and the beautifully chaotic nature of some of the camerawork and editing, the film is ultimately dismantled by the murkiness of its sexual politics. Any potential subversiveness to be found within this 'love' story is dissolved by the film's overwhelming seriousness.