(from the film “Mania” by Polselli)
Mania by Renato Polselli is an unobtainable film, accidentally intercepted on Youtube. Like other films by this author, seeing and following him is an amazing experience. In a genre suspended between the grotesque, the horror-thriller, the fairy tale, we proceed with a surreal and visionary style, sometimes bordering on the bombardment of images, silences and unnatural insistence on details. The plot sometimes gets lost, or you fail to pinpoint that after quite a while.
In this film, however, I find the plot, eventually reconstructed, as a brilliant representation of obsession, pushed towards its more “total” margins (from carnal to existential obsession).
There are two twins who live in a house with servants. One of the twins and a scientist, immersed in his research. His wife cheats on him with the other twin. The scientist discovers everything and causes the death of the twin, to then pretend he is, and thus have in hand the double life of his wife (which unfolded between one twin and the other), but remains injured and disfigured. The wife runs away after the accident, but then she comes back to understand. Her husband torments her in various ways, to the point of driving her mad.
The first interesting element is the research that the scientist conducts. He tries to induce and control a “suspended” vital state, in which some functions are precisely interrupted and it is possible to intervene to cure diseases almost as on a “metaphysical” model. The body comes back to life without actually being manipulated.
A medical ideal and also a fantasy of immortality.
Such a scientist is obviously always “almost” reached his goal, but in reality he is always separated from it by an insurmountable distance. That is, he may have developed a system that is “almost functional” or “almost perfect”, or have conceived it perfectly but always be far from having “perfected” it. His brain is obsessed with control , control of life as such, of death, of bodily functions and their development in space-time.
Such a mind, which feels so close to radical control, is challenged by the loss of control over the meanest but most central thing of all: affective betrayal .
And on the affective betrayal, “sbrocca”. He has no defenses, of course, because all the control he manages to exercise in the context of the scientific experiment is actually fictitious, or self-referential. In other words, the scientist runs the risk of searching only for what he can find, and asking himself questions for which he already glimpses the answers, pretending not to see that around these recurring calculations there is the same unknown “sea” of first. Outside this dimension, he is only a man who has to do with other men, or with the forces of nature, against which nothing can, in the final analysis. He has to adapt, prepare for changes, not ask too many questions and look for new solutions.
The scientist of the film, on the other hand, does not give up control, does not let go. He wants to take back the guide of what has gotten out of hand, and from here he architects the grotesque and surreal solution: to take the identity of his twin brother. If – ironically – your partner’s lover was your twin brother, you might just think that it is “fixable”, because it is your copy. So replacing him would erase the betrayal, at least in the distortion that makes a mind obsessed with control. Yet, even if control is so close, everything falls apart.
In theory, the scientist also became his wife’s lover, as physically equal. In practice, there is nothing more rambling. He himself actually uses this new situation to torment his own wife, in a mixture of revenge and seeking her control over her. He tries to drive her crazy by being at the same time the one who can keep her within the limits of her sanity, just as he can push her out of her. The idea would be to tie her to herself so much that she has reconstituted the ideal love: a physical equality to the true object of her love (the lover) and a close and essential psychological bond. But the physical is fiction (he has replaced the twin) and the feeling is a hoax (a plot to make her addicted). An ideal therefore that and when more bogus can exist,
In this tension, the scientist finally loses his grip on his “creature”. His wife kills himself, and he is left alone.

In this type of situation, especially those connected to romantic relationships, the search for control becomes a potential pathological core.
In fact, if one can exercise control over hygiene, hygiene, health, weather forecasting to a certain extent, control over feelings and mutual affinities is instead something independent, almost metaphysical. A bond lives as a result of something that is so changeable and multifactorial that it is practically uncontrollable.
The obsessive and pathological hygienist when he washes his hands for hours, but washing his hands is a reasonable behavior. The weather forecasts are not absolute, but basically everyone tries to understand if they are defined or not and maybe they adjust accordingly.
Knowing if the other person loves you, really loves you, could cheat on you, etc., on the other hand, they are already starting to excesses of control, since they do not normally use a rational channel of control. No calculations are made to love or to verify that you are loved in return. To love, we know “a priori”, to be loved in return, we know “a posteriori”. Unfortunately, anyone wishing to reverse this sequence would find themselves looking for the corners of a sphere. And not finding them, creating them and then orienting oneself in a scheme that does not concern the nature of the object, but the framework with which one would like to control it.
Instinctive, sentimental, intuitive knowledge, or whatever you want to call it, is a type of exchange with the environment that originates from oneself, from one’s own inclinations and impulses, and that provides answers and creates harmony. But it is not a controllable calculation. Of love, that is, one can only calculate what has already happened, that is, what is already known.
The “key” character to understand the psychological meaning and the maid, Erina. While she tries to prevent her husband from discovering her wife with her lover’s twin, he kills her. Erina survives, but remains mute. Her character symbolizes acceptance of the truth, and of her own inability to control it, but also the possibility of accepting it and using it as a true basis for choosing and evolving. The scientist does not accept her, he suffocates the way out of her obsession with her, which fortunately, even if she changes, remains an option of salvation. In the same way, patients typically resist what takes them away from obsessions, taken by the strength of the idea of ​​control, and convinced that the solution of their insecurities passes through them.
Control pathology has various forms, from benign and passive ones (doubts about being still in love, obsessive doubts about having made the right choice, obsessive doubts about the partner’s “suitability” in various ways, from physical to other. C and then obsessive jealousy, or obsessive possession.
On the other side there are the “active”, malignant pathologies, with a tendency to impose control by aggressive or blackmailing means, up to paranoid jealousy and stalking behaviors.

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