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Petit Mal

Colombia 2022
produced by
Ruth Caudeli, Silvia Varón, Sara Larrota for Ovella Blava Films
directed by Ruth Caudeli
starring Ruth Caudeli, Ana María Otálora, Silvia Varón
written by Ruth Caudeli, music by Fabio Chaves

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Lai (Ruth Caudeli), Anto (Ana María Otálora) and Marti (Silvia Varón) live in a menage à trois that actually works - and while sure there are fits of jealousy every now and again, and moments where one of the three feels left out of the fun the other two may have, everything's always resolved lovingly. And then Lai is called to a filmshoot somewhere halfway round the globe, and with her gone, Anto and Marti realize they have very little to say to one another, and that Lai seems to have been the sole catalyst to their relationship. So while living in their (too) large house as perfect strangers, their lives seem to solely revolve around the calls they receive from Lai - which come in quite irregularly, and the connection tends to be bad. On top of that, Lai seems more and more distant over time, not only in the literal sense, and while she tells Anto and Marti how much she misses them, on her social media she portrays her shoot as nothing short of constant partying. Gradually though, Anto and Marti find to one another, find out how to build up a relationship without Lai, find out they don't really need Lai - which goes so far that even over the phone, Lai feels something's wrong, feels to be the third wheel in the relationship ...

 

It's not that much actually happens in Petit Mal, and even the little that happens is portrayed in a very unspectacular way (apart from occasional changes from colour to black and white and back) - and all of this fits this slice-of-life story just fine, as while not much seems to be happening on screen, much is indeed going on on a deeper level, expressed in the actresses' faces, their gestures, the tone of their voices and the like, with things seemingly growing organically rather than just following some pattern. And a very solid trio of actresses carried by a suitably subtle directorial effort, bring all that to the fore rather beautifully, making this movie a rewarding experience.

 

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