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The Other Side of the Underneath [DVD] [1972]

Jane Arden    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £19.02 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Directors: Jane Arden
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: BFI
  • DVD Release Date: 13 July 2009
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0027FFSSK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,680 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


The first full commercial release of the 1972 film based on the play of the same name adapted and directed by Jane Arden. The film is an exploration into the mind of a young woman marked as a schizophrenic after suffering a mental breakdown only to find that the cause is not due to her insanity but rather a distorted sexual guilt constructed by the prohibitive community in which she lives.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warts And All 6 Jun 2011
By Room For A View VINE VOICE
Having read a bit about Jane Arden and this film in particular I was not expecting a bundle of laughs. Surprisingly, however, there are a couple of scenes I found humorous such as the cabaret routine and the travellers' revels. On the whole, however, this is a film about serious mental ill health and, for me, it was tough going on occasion but I think that is the point. Arden uses the medium of film to convey the pain and suffering experienced by several very unwell women. What's going on in their heads is harrowingly conveyed through the use of sound and music (the cellist has a central role) ranging from ear piercing screams, accompanied by a discordant cacophony of instrumentation and sometimes strange bubble noises. The character's hallucinations and behavioural problems are deeply disturbing and obviously torment these women. The big red nose seems to be very menacing but also playful. Such is the ebb and flow of this film. As with some other forms of experimental film, this film is no less challenging whilst being entertaining. This film has no story to tell instead Arden forces upon the viewer a cinematic version of psychosis, warts and all. Not for the faint hearted.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable film. 9 May 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
'The Other Side of the Underneath' (Jane Arden 1972) is the only 1970s British feature film with a solo female direction credit; very little else about it is ordinary either. It is a self-consciously radical work which breaks most of the rules of conventional narrative cinema in its exploration of madness and female pain; viewers will either be fascinated or repulsed. It was shot mainly in South Wales in and around the mining communities of Cwmtillery and Abertillery in the Ebbw Vale area (writer/director Jane Arden was born in nearby Pontypool). The setting undoubtedly adds to the power of the imagery and atmosphere of the film, as does the extraordinary soundtrack which is largely the work of cellist Sally Minford (now Sally Pullinger) and sound editor Robert Hargreaves. There really is no other soundtrack like this as, at times, individual notes or scrapings on the cello accompany particular words of dialogue. 'The Other Side of the Underneath' is an extreme work of what the writer Sarah Street calls the 'other' British cinema which has been running alongside the mainstream since the silent era. It is dark, haunting and, at times, shocking, and the British Film Institute deserve immense credit for making it available again - in an excellent package with a detailed booklet - after decades of neglect.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Diorama Of The Broken 29 July 2009
By Brady Orme VINE VOICE
Imagine if Sigmund Freud had gatecrashed a Gypsy wedding party where they were staging a performance of "Marat/Sade", and started up a discussion on hysteria, mental degradation and the Female Orgasm, and you kind of end up with what you'll see when you watch Jane Arden's "The Other Side Of The Underneath". The Holocaust women's theatre troupe (to which Arden belonged) were the first to stage her play "The Holocaust", from which the film is adapted from. Described by critic George Melly as "a most illuminating season in Hell", the movie depicts a nameless woman's descent into Schitzophrenia and the agonies and psychoanalysis that follows. However, from Arden's point of view the condition is caused by female sexual repression in society - the film depicts the protagonist undergoing rebirth as her personality fragments and finally implodes... as Arden was involved in the anti-psychiatry movement of the '60s, her scathing allegory is not altogether unsuprising.

The film excels in depictions of violent, sometimes symbolic brutality and the animal side of sexual release, which makes it not an altogether pleasant viewing experience. However, it is never short of powerful and compelling and never falls short of attempting to offend through its rejection of false icons (one wonders how the stiff-upper-lipped received it in 1972). The juxtaposition of bare breasts and crucifixion in the latter half was especially upsetting for some. It is never less than avant-garde and experimental, which obviously narrows it's potential audience somewhat. But, if you like your cinema to challenge, it's another Mother Lode from the BFI.
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