Madly is six short films, each by a different director and based in a different country. They all explore some aspect of love and are stylistically and emotionally diverse. It’s hard to choose a single rating for six such different films and I struggle with the episodic nature of anthologies of short films; no sooner have you engaged with the story than you have to leave. They are all interesting, the first three – from India, Australia and the US (though directed by a Chilean Sebastián Silva) – are my favourites.
Clean Shaven is about an Indian married couple. The wife, influenced by a young male friend, tries to be more sexually adventurous with her husband but with negative repercussions. The message: love is self-respect.
Afterbirth, directed by Australian actor Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Alice in Wonderland), is a beautifully quiet piece about a young mother struggling to connect with her new baby. The message: love doesn’t always come easily.
Dance Dance Dance by Sebastián Silva (he directed The Maid, one of my favourite films from MIFF 2015) follows a young boy, thrown out of home when he tells his parents that he’s gay. For him, love comes from an unexpected source. The message: love is kindness.
Love is Love by Japanese director Sion Sono is the most light-hearted, almost farcical, of the six. A young girl and her fiance take her sister and her sister’s husband to a sex club, introducing them to the fun and freedom of unrestricted sexual experience. The message: love has no rules.
Love of my Life, directed by actor Gael García Bernal and set in Argentina, was one of the more enigmatic ones. A man and his wife try to understand each other and we see back to when their love was fresh and intense and their differences seemed less important. The message: love doesn’t last.
I Do, by first time director and Bat for Lashes singer Natasha Khan, shows us a young woman on the way to her wedding. She stops when she sees a motorcyclist being beaten up and tries to help him. Her reality and her memories of her father begin to intertwine. The message: Love continues.
Bechdel test – pass