Crazy Love

Vancouver Premiere! Wednesday, January 16, 2008 – 7:30pm
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 the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and won Best Documentary honours at the 2007 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 the Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Programs at Vancouver General Hospital and Providence Health Care, and a Clinical Instructor in the Division of Emergency Medicine at UBC. She provides counselling services to abused persons and also coordinates teaching about domestic violence to second year UBC Medical and Dental students.

Dr. Stefanakis is a registered psychologist with more than 15 years experience working with men who have assaulted their partners. He is currently chairperson of the Ending Relationship Abuse Society of B.C. and sits on the Provincial Community Coordination for Women’s Safety Committee.

Co-sponsored by Domestic Violence Programs at Vancouver General Hospital and Providence Health Care.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UBC.

Frames of Mind is a monthly film event utilizing film and video to promote professional and community education on issues pertaining to mental health and illness.

For more information, see the Pacific Cinémathèque Program Guide