Madness doesn’t have to be a disease. It can be a form of protection from ugliness and loneliness of the world. One can decide to be insane to negate the evil around and bad intentions of the others. Insanity can is also a form of creation – it awakes the creativity of the mind and makes impossible possible. But madness is also a social labour – a method of excluding and taming individuals that don’t belong to the normative orders and permanently cross and negate the boundaries of conventions. Mental hospitals used to be a system of oppression, of supervision and punishment. Milos Forman, a director of the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” that is based on Ken Kesey’s book, tangles all of these threads and creates a movie that is both – a touching drama and a beautiful metaphor of freedom.
“One Flew..” is – above all – a story about protecting personal freedom and right to make independent decisions. The creators of the movie present freedom as the highest value in human life than can be realized even in the worst conditions. The author of the book seems to suggest that the system of control that is supposed to limit and dose freedom should never reduce a subject to a passive puppet. Patients of the mental hospital in Forman’s movie are not allowed to leave, but they still can protect their dignity and humanity. The process of deconstructing the oppressive system is showed in a very attractive way – the plot is based on the scheme of narration about the sprouting anarchy. A criminal imitates insanity after getting in to trouble and once in the mental hospital rebels against the oppressive nurse. What’s more – he encourages the scared patients to follow him. He belongs to both worlds and as a pretender he sees more than the others. His presence in the institution is a breath of a cold wind – it can be destructive, but it also can be refreshing. The bad guy turns into a figure of hope and rebellion – he wants to protect himself, but he becomes a leader of a bigger revolution. What’s important – the protagonists neither negate their madness nor want the presence of insane people on the streets. Their battle is about personal freedom and dignity – being separated from the “normal” world doesn’t exclude being human.
Revolution requires victims and blood. “One Flew…” is a thrilling vision of one mental hospital, but in a wider perspective – it’s a critical deconstruction of all institutions that are based on the mechanisms of terror and oppression. Forman’s movie becomes a modern parable about staying human in inhuman conditions.