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Coming Apart Reviews

Virtually unseen for 30 years, this psychodrama about a shrink having a mental meltdown breezes right down the checklist of "sins of '60s experimental cinema." Meandering, loosely structured narrative: check. Obvious symbolism: check. Intense belief in the power of rock music and analysis: check. Nudity and sex games: check, check. Rejection of Hollywood-style lighting, staging and, especially, editing: check, check, check. The result is sometime tough going: It's a couple of decades too late to find the sight of a bunch of middle aged suit-and-tie types groping free-loving hippie chicks at an impromptu orgy shocking or even very interesting. But what an oddly compelling artifact! Writer/director Milton Moses Ginsberg worked on TV's Candid Camera and saw clearly the voyeuristic sadism behind the silly pranks; his movie's conceit is cruel simplicity itself. Fleeing his marriage and practice, Dr. Joe Glazer (Rip Torn) rents an apartment under an assumed name (Glassman — one for the obvious symbolism category), points a hidden camera at his sofa and the mirrored wall behind it, and seduces women, smokes dope, has deep conversations, seduces more women, talks to himself and slowly cracks up. Adding to the emotional mire: Glazer moved into this particular building because his ex-mistress (Viveca Lindfors) lives there with her new boyfriend, and he's having an increasingly abusive relationship with a former patient (Sally Kirkland) who's obviously flipping further out with each passing minute. Scenes play out in long, loopy takes from a single angle, as though they really were recorded by Glazer's hidden camera (he tells nosy parkers it's a piece of "kinetic sculpture"), and Glazer's sorry escapades encapsulate the sad, degenerate slide into self-indulgence and careless hedonism that marked the end of the '60s social revolution, all to the tinny strains of Jefferson Airplane. Bummer.