What a gothic-baroque visual delight  ‘Monomania‘ is! Of course, the quality of the short film signed by L.A. Reilly concerns not only the cinematography’s dark lushness, but also the photographic vision or the chromatic suggestiveness that the director uses in shaping the twisted psyche of the characters. Likewise, the psychological stakes launched by this romance-thriller are the basis of some complex protagonists – perhaps too complex for their emotional abysses to be fully encompassed in the small dimensions of this project. And yet, the feeling that the viewer has at the end is not that of an incomplete, inconsistent short film. On the contrary, the suggestive narrative cut-out inviting us to dive into the protagonist’s subconscious, as well as the evanescence of space seeming to take the form of a black fluid in which the characters’ bodies melt into ghostly silhouettes, have the necessary coherence to surprise us through its expressiveness. Similarly, the relationships between the characters are built on the border between hallucination and madness, in a permanent defiance of the viewers’ expectations.


Thus, we witness the accelerated emotional degradation of a young woman who, more or less consciously, throws herself into the trap of a sickly obsession, in an attempt to understand the truth behind her partner’s infidelity. The problem is that subjective perception can become her greatest enemy, and the truth she accepts is, in fact, the hallucination of a traumatized mind trying to escape from the burden or guilt of a forbidden love. From this perspective, the short film signed by L.A. Reilly hides in its compositional layers a psychoanalytic finesse, illustrating the tensions between the masculine and  the feminine principles in the soul of a character, while being in a feverish search for her own sexual identity. This long desperate search, this explosive inner conflict is spectacularly depicted by the director through a nightly and magnetic atmosphere reminiscent of Angela Carter’s prose, while resonating with the fictional universe of Daphne du Maurier. In fact, the name of the main character, Rebecca, somewhat certifies this stylistic affinity that the director of this excellent short film can develop at any time on a feature.


For the psychological complexity of the characters that harmoniously resonate with the lushness of a space placed between hallucination and madness, and for the professionalism with which the director manipulates the cinematic language while darkly building a coherent universe, ‘Monomania’ was awarded with the Film of the Month distinction in the October 2020 edition of TMFF.