• Madness of Many



    Released by: MVD Visual
    Released on: December 15, 2015
    Director: Kasper Juhl
    Cast: Dinna Ophelia Hæklund, Ellinor Rosander, Ellen Abrahamson
    Year: 2013
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Victoria has lead an extremely hard life. Physically and emotionally abused by a brutal father and neglected by an uncaring mother, Victoria drifts through life as an empty shell lacking in humanity. Her life does not become any easier as she reaches adulthood. She seems to become some sort of private dancer/prostitute until one day when she meets a stranger in what looks to be a park. Victoria naively goes home with the mysterious man and enters a world of torture and madness.

    Madness of Many plays out like the inane ramblings of a 15 year-old boy. He pontificates about the misery of existing and the pain of living. The film obviously thinks everything it says and shows is deep in meaning and emotion but it is actually incredibly shallow and immature. Writer-director Kasper Juhl opted to not include a plot in his dumpster fire of a film, instead he treats the viewer to a menagerie of repeated images, most of which include superficial depictions of violence against women. Juhl’s three favorite repeated sequences seem to be Victoria comically swaying to bad, spooky music, Victoria aimlessly wondering through a wooded area, and women being forced to vomit blood. In fact, upwards to at least 20% of the film is scenes of women vomiting blood. I suppose you could argue Madness of Many is a character study. Everything seems to be from Victoria’s lens and almost all of the dialogue is a voice over from her which is more like an ongoing interior monologue rather than an explanation of events. In addition, Victoria is pretty much the only real character. Sure, the film features other actors, including other brutalized women, but she is the only constant throughout the film. Ultimately, however, the film fails as a true character study. Victoria has no character, she truly is an empty vessel. Over the course of the film, and her never ending voice over, we never learn anything about her outside of past and present abuse. While it is true she seems to be obsessed with the juvenile pain is pleasure concept, we never get a sense of who she is or why we should care about her.

    In addition to the overall banality of Victoria and the shallow nature of the film, Madness of Many is also horribly paced. While the film is extremely short, at about 70 minutes, it none the less feels much longer. There is nothing about the film to hold the viewer’s attention: no plot, a poorly developed character, and amateur, uninventive filmmaking. The only thing Madness of Many has going for it is the extreme violence, but since Juhl repeats the violence ad nauseam any excitement the gory may have held is total obliterated about 20 minutes in the film.

    There is nothing good about Madness of Many, it stinks on ice. Juhl seems to have watched films like Pasolini's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom but did not understand the underlying message. I am pretty sure there is an audience for the movie, though. There is no doubt an army of 13-16 year-old boys clamoring for this type of junk. It is an “art film” for someone who has never seen an “art film”. If Juhl’s aim was to be shocking then he succeeded. It was shocking a film could be this bad.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    MVD Visual has released Madness of Many on DVD under the Unearthed Films label. The film is presented in 2.35:1 and features an adequate image. It is somewhat hard to tell just how strong the image quality actually is as the film itself is pretty ugly and poorly shot. The film has an incompetent, poorly designed look with drab, flat lighting creating an overall unpleasing look. I suppose this works in the film’s favor as it ugliness matches Madness of Many’s tone, however I doubt that was Juhl’s intentions. The disc’s audio, 2.0 Dolby Digital, is fine. Everything is mixed well and the voice over narration is clearly heard despite being spoken by someone with a Dutch accent. The release lacks subtitles, but they are not really needed.

    Filmmaker Juhl is present for an audio commentary track that accompanies the disc. Overall the commentary is ok. Juhl seems to be proud of his work and obviously thinks he made a really good film. He mentions the beauty in the images on-screen. Juhl and I must have been watching different films. The primary problem with the commentary is it was mixed too low. Along with the commentary was a trailer vault showcasing Madness of Many and 14 other titles.

    The Final World:

    Do yourself a favor, never watch Madness of Many. It is the type of pseudo-intellectual junk that appeals to teenage boys who feel like outcasts.