USA 2007. Director: Dan Klores
Landing soundly in the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction realm, Crazy Love is the astonishing story of an obsessive roller-coaster relationship that first dominated newspaper headlines in the United States almost 50 years ago. When successful 32-year-old attorney Burt Pugach met the naïve and beautiful 21-year-old Linda Riss, theirs was a whirlwind romance that was the apex of 1950s high style. Unfortunately, Burt was also hiding a long-suffering wife and a disabled daughter. When Linda found out, and Burt’s repeated promises to divorce proved false, she broke off contact — eventually becoming engaged to regular guy Larry Schwartz. Enraged by jealousy, Burt set out to guarantee that if he couldn’t have Linda, no one could. His actions would land him in jail, and that might have been the end of it, but fate would take many more strange turns upon his release 14 years later. With the full cooperation of the principles — Burt, now 79, and Linda, 68 — Crazy Love examines the complexity of the human psyche and the concepts of love, obsession, insanity, hope, and forgiveness. The film had its world premiere at Sundance in 2007 and won Best Documentary honours at the Santa Barbara fest. “A bizarre saga of glamour, obsessive love, grotesque violence and miscellaneous weirdness that has entertained New York City tabloid readers over four decades … The sheer fascinating strangeness of the people documented could earn the picture a minor cult following à la Grey Gardens” (Dennis Harvey, Variety). Colour, Digibeta video. 92 mins.
Post-screening discussion with Kathleen Mackay and Dr. Harry Stefanakis.
Ms. Mackay is a Registered Social Worker and a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Emergency Medicine at UBC. She teaches in the area of domestic violence and health, and works for Vancouver Community Mental Health as a Mental Health Therapist at S.A.F.E.R. (Suicide Attempt Follow Up, Education and Research).
Dr. Stefanakis is a registered psychologist with more than 20 years experience working with men who have assaulted their partners. He is past president of the Ending Relationship Abuse Society of B.C. and was a visiting expert for the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.
Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.
Co-sponsored by Vancouver Coastal Health Community Mental Health and Addictions.
“Chronicling a bizarre saga of glamour, obsessive love, grotesque violence and miscellaneous weirdness that has entertained New York City tabloid readers over four decades, Crazy Love lands soundly in the stranger-than-fiction realm.”
Variety | full review