John Huston [1906-1987] belongs among the top 10 American movie directors of all time. Aside from his cinematic instincts--which often seemed infallible--he had a deep interest in literary narrative, and sought to adapt a number of what he regarded as classic texts to the screen, especially towards the end of his career, when he had the authority and cred to pull them off.
One of his late successes was the adaptation of Malcolm Lowry's masterpiece, Under the Volcano . Set in Mexico, it's a profoundly autobiographical account of a severe alcoholic Englishman. Lowry makes him a minor British diplomat, but that's simply a convenience: His real interest is the graphic contrast he gets by placing Geoffrey Firmin (played by Albert Finney) in a "primitive" culture in which suffering and death are celebrated and embraced, rather than avoided and ignored. In a verbal narrative, Firmin's mental torments can be described from the inside out, in the usual way. In cinema, these psychological aspects have either to be fantasized or obliquely dramatized. Firmin's alcoholic delusions and acting-out serve as an ironic vehicle for Lowry's metaphysical ruminations, which then sets up melodramatic and comic asides.