Scene from the film A Tale of Love, Madness and Death
Scene from the film A Tale of Love, Madness and Death
Scene from the film A Tale of Love, Madness and Death
Scene from the film A Tale of Love, Madness and Death
Scene from the film A Tale of Love, Madness and Death

A Tale of Love, Madness and Death

  • Chile
  • Germany
Audio Tracks 

Carlos, the uncle of director Mijael Bustos, is schizophrenic. Although an adult – middle-aged, in fact – he still lives with his elderly parents, who have always refused to place their son in an institution. Carlos stumbles around the house, babbling angrily as he goes. Most of the time he’s speaking incoherent Spanish (without subtitles), but every once in a while he bursts into a jolly Beatles song. He’s a heavy smoker, and cigarette butts and empty packets are lying all around the house. His addiction caused his mother to have lung problems, and she had no choice but to move in with her daughter. Ever since, Carlos’s father has been shuttling back and forth between his mentally ill son and his wife, whose physical health is rapidly deteriorating. There’s not much talking in this short documentary, as the obviously tragic situation needs little explanation. We see the face of the elderly man many times in close-up, and he seems less angry than defeated. He’s powerless, so he cooks his son’s daily meal of spaghetti and tomato sauce before taking the subway to his wife, coughing on the couch while she watches telenovelas. Sadly, he’s a prisoner caught between the forces of love and duty.


  • Original Title
    A Tale of Love, Madness and Death
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Mijael Bustos
  • Cinematography
    Álvaro Anguita
  • Editing
    Mijael Bustos
  • Music
    Karim Habib el Fakih
  • Sound
    Esteban Jara
  • Runtime
    22 min (16-30 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Chile
    • Germany
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Awards
    • Best Documentary Short - Latin American Film Festival, Berlin, Germany
    • Audience Award - Filmfest Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
    • Best Documentary Short - Krakow Film Festival, Krakow, Poland
    • Golden Plaque - Chicago International Film Festival, USA
    • Short Documentary Winner - Scottish Mental Health Arts & Flim Festival, Scotland
    • Golden Frog Best Short Documentary - Camerimage Film Festival, Poland
    • Best Documentary - Flickerfest Film Festival, Australia.
    • Best Documentary Short - Nashville Film Festival, USA
    • Official Selection International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Netherlands
    • Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival, Canada is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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