Circle of Power

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Circle of Power
Circle of Power bruises.jpg
Executives embracing after participating in "Executive Development Training"
Directed by Bobby Roth
Produced by Gary Mehlman
Anthony Quinn
Jeffrey White
Written by Beth Sullivan (screenplay), Gene Church (book)
Starring Yvette Mimieux,
Christopher Allport,
Cindy Pickett,
John Considine,
Walter Olkewicz
Music by Richard Markowitz
Cinematography Affonso Beato
Edited by Gail Yasunaga
Distributed by Media Home Entertainment,
Qui Productions,
Televicine International
Release dates
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Circle of Power, also known as Mystique, Brainwash and The Naked Weekend, is a 1983 film, co-produced by Gary Mehlman, Anthony Quinn and Jeffrey White, and based on the non-fiction book The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled. It stars Yvette Mimieux in her final film performance to date.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Yvette Mimieux, as chief executive of "Executive Development Training"

Yvette Mimieux plays the chief executive of a giant corporation called "Mystique",[1] but the organization is also known as "Executive Development Training", or EDT.[2] Christopher Allport plays Jack Nilsson, a decent all-American young executive.[3]

Top management executives are required to spend a weekend with Bianca Ray at a hotel, where they are put under psychological pressure.[1] As a prerequisite to the training course, participants must sign a waiver giving the company the release to physically and psychologically abuse the individuals in the course.[3] The participants struggle with their shortcomings, such as obesity and alcoholism.[3] Another individual is a closet homosexual, and a fourth is a transvestite.[2] At one point in the film, the obese trainee is forced to eat trash and discarded food in front of the other seminar participants.[2] Eventually, the seminar executives and their wives lose their inhibitions later on in the "consciousness-raising" coursework.[4]


Actor Role
Yvette Mimieux Bianca Ray
Christopher Allport Jack Nilsson
Cindy Pickett Lyn Nilsson
John Considine Jordan Carelli
Walter Olkewicz Buddy Gordon
Leo Rossi Chris Morris
Carmen Argenziano Tony Annese


The film won a Dramatic Films Award at the 1982 Sundance Film Festival.[5] Circle of Power played under the title Mystique at the 1981 Chicago International Film Festival.[1]

A review in The New York Times described Circle of Power as an "attack on monolithic belief systems," and referred to it as "a worthwhile movie."[3] Allmovie compared the psychological nature of the techniques utilized by Executive Development Training to Erhard Seminars Training, calling them "EST-like excesses."[2] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, writing that "'s an entertaining film with serious intentions."[1] Ebert compared it to events reported in Boston newspapers about a man who died during a Werner Erhard and Associates seminar, commenting: "Art anticipates life."[1] Ebert questioned the conceit of the film, asking the question: "Could a major corporation get away with this brainwashing?"[1] The authors of the book upon which the film was based concluded their preface by stating: "And please remember as you read -- it's true."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ebert, Roger (1983-09-28). "Naked Weekend / Mystique". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d Erickson, Hal., Brainwash, Overview, Allmovie, retrieved 4/20/2007.
  3. ^ a b c d Van Gelder, Lawrence (March 2, 1984). "Screen: Corporate Pressure". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Staff (June 2, 1984). "Showtime: Circle of Power". The Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio. 
  5. ^ Brainwash, Dramatic Films, 1982, Sundance Film Festival, Allmovie, [1]
  6. ^ Church, Gene; Conrad D. Carnes (1972). The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled. New York: Outerbridge & Lazard, Inc. p. 161. ISBN 0-87690-087-2. 

External links[edit]