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Mad Love  

The yearly American Film Market brings with it films from many different countries and that’s where I ran into a showing of Juana La Loca (Mad Love).

The story takes place in the 15th Century where the Queen of Castile and heir to the crown of Aragon marries her daughter Princess Joan (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) to Philip the Handsome of Brussels (Daniele Liotti) for political reasons.

Initially Joan and Phillip are madly in love with each other and all is well. But it doesn’t take long for Phillip to get bored with his wife and start womanizing. This drives Joan into a jealous rage and she tries to win her husband’s love back. The more she tries to get her husband to pay attention to her the more he cheats on her.

Soon other problems arise. Due some deaths in Joan family, she ends up Queen of Castile and heir to the Crown of Aragon. This creates a secret battle between the Flemish and Castilian nobility for control of the empire.

To make matters worse, Joan outrageous behavior due to her husbands carnal lust for other women puts her in a vulnerable position. It allows her husband to convince many that his wife is insane as he tries to transfer all of Joan’s powers as Queen to himself. If he succeeds, Philip’s powers will increase many folds and make him sole king of a vast territory.

This tale of lust, greed and corruption is presented as a battle of wits mostly between Joan and Philip as they plot with their supporters how to get what they want.

Mad Love is full of raw emotion mixed with intrigue. You get a lot of odd behavior and screaming from Joan and mostly blasé reaction from Philip which is repeated often to the point of being redundant.

Director Vincente Aranda gives you too many uneven peaks and valleys of sensations that are not easily digested. Just when you think things are starting to get interesting you get distracted by conceited plot twists.

If you are looking for time period piece with sporadic moments of illicit pleasure then Mad Love is your aphrodisiac.

3 out of 5


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