There are three stages to a romantic relationship. Stage one is where you avoid farting in front of each other. Stage two is when you don’t mind farting in front of each other and stage three is when you fart in front of each other on purpose! The lesbian throuple in director Ruth Caudeli’s latest film, Petit Mal, are definitely at stage three of their relationship.
Laia (Ruth Caudeli), Martina (Silvia Varon) and Anto (Ana Maria Otalora) are good-looking, in their late 20s/early 30s, and live in a large modern house in rural Columbia. They’ve been together for a while and theirs is a relaxed, sure-footed relationship and nearly all their time is spent together, with a shared sense of humour, and without outside influences other than their five dogs. Life is good and they all sleep together in the same bed, each wearing identical teddy-bear onesies and often communicating through funny animal noises. So far, so cute.
Laia, a film director, then gets offered a job in Europe, which she accepts, and this means she has to leave the other two girls for a few months. This changes the dynamic of the relationship as Laia is essentially the leader of the pack – she always sleeps in the middle of the bed. We follow Martina and Anto as they adapt to daily life without Laia, with communication with her reduced to irregular FaceTime and Instagram story updates.
Caudeli’s film, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, is an interesting study of both throuple and long-distance relationships. Shot in both black-and-white and color, the film is very realistic and could easily be mistaken for a fly-on-the-wall documentary. The plot is thin on the ground but this allows us to focus on the minutiae of the relationship, the joy, insularity, over-analysis, bouts of jealousy, and the dynamics of a throuple, which can be quite exhausting. The film exudes confidence in its subject matter and its refreshing that the women’s sexuality isn’t ever discussed or even mentioned. The slightly self-indulgent characters are well cast and complemented by good cinematography. A very human story.
P.S. Petit Mal screened at OUTshine Film Festival and Seattle Queer Film Festival.
Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah
Labels: 2022, Columbian, lesbian, Petit Mal, review, Ris Fatah, Ruth Cadelli, throuple