Imagine the six of the greatest directors of the world coming together to make a movie. Madly is a similar effort. But instead of one big movie, you get six short films, directed by each of the six stalwart directors. The stories are not interconnected, rather stand independently, but do have a common theme – love. Six such stories have been weaved through these themes, which happen in different parts of the world, and deal with various facets of modern love, such as passion, relationships and sexuality. Needless to say, the stories are extremely progressive, and unlike those you will see in mainstream cinema. Here’s an independent look at all the segments of Madly:
Segment 1: Clean Shaven
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Archana’s life may seem perfect – she is married to a hardworking husband, and mother to a young girl. But is she truly happy? A look into her pseudo-romantic relationship with a much younger neighbor shows how she is trapped in a boring marriage. Not only is she sexually repressed, she is not even allowed to take charge of her own body. Radhika Apte’s portrayal of this character, which is probably every middle-class Indian wife, hits a nerve. As the story progresses, her character slowly begins to find a release from her imprisoned marriage. Her feminist anger resonates well with the audience, and it is hardly surprising that Apte bagged the Best Actress award at Tribeca Film Festival for this role.
Segment 2: Afterbirth
Directed by: Mia Wasikowska
Every movie tells you how a mother’s bond to her child is the strongest thing in the world. Yet, in this segment, a single mother, played by Kathryn Beck, fails to form that bond with her child. The movie does not show her as a reckless callous monster, but as a loving mother, who proves that post-partum struggles are real. Even with its powerful narrative, the movie makes little impact. As an audience, you feel sympathy for Beck’s character, but would certainly not empathize with her. The constant wailing of the baby also leaves you with a bitter feeling, and you can’t wait to move on to the next segment.
Segment 3: Dance Dance Dance
Directed by: Sebastián Silva
This segment deals with a young African-American’s homosexuality. Shunned by his best friend and ousted by his parents for his orientation, Rio (Lex Santos) finds a place in a homeless shelter. There, however, after being sexually abused by the female facilitator, he is rescued by another homeless teenager. Together, they find shelter on the streets of New York, and compassion within one another. There’s a lot that could have happened in this story, but did not. The story moves fast, and ends leaving you with nothing. The only aspect that stood out was Jesus’ hilarious eye-roll, which cannot be missed.
Segment 4: Love of Love
Directed by: Sion Sono
This segment deals with a traditional Japanese family, whose youngest daughter is soon to be wed. As she sits around the dinner table with her parents, sister, brother-in-law, and fiancé, she realizes how boring and passionless their lives have become since marriage. To turn things around, she and her fiancé introduce her sister and her husband to one of Tokyo’s underground sex clubs. Things gets more heated when their mother begins to join them on their trips too. What first begins as a sexual liberation, later becomes borderline incestuous, to outrightly weird. This segment is not one you’d take seriously, but simply exists for titillation.
Segment 5: Love of my Life
Directed by: Gael García Bernal
The relationship between a young woman and her much older husband has not been easy. And when the couple is expecting a child, there’s a lot more at stake. This segment is portrayed through a series of flashbacks, coming back to the same location – a café where the woman is meeting her husband. As the story progresses, there’s a lot to learn about the woman, and even empathize with her feelings. Shots of the beautiful city add to the beauty of the segment. But the narrative soon fizzles out, and leaving only certain aspects of it memorable.
Segment 6: I Do
Directed by: Natasha Khan
This segment depicts every bride’s trepidation before her wedding day. Nora (Tamsin Topolski) is all set to tie the knot with the love of her life, when a ghost from her past comes back to haunt her. There is no elaborate story, but only the portrayal how the past comes back to put a hold on the future. The movie is shot rather like a music video, and the occasional imagery of the wildly roaming horses add an element of symbolism to the otherwise dry narrative. Shots of the wild countryside also add to its beauty, just like in the previous segment, but the mood here is darker and calmer, as compared to the hot and colorful Argentina.
If you find the stories interesting, try and catch Madly at Jio MAMI today, playing at Regal Cinemas at 08.30 PM.