The feature-length independent film «Nursery Rhyme of a Madman” by Canadian filmmaker Igor Stephen Rados is based on the stage play «The Madman and the Nun”. The author is the famous Polish writer and philosopher Stanislaw Witkiewicz. This play was written in the 20-30s of the XX century, but it still performing in theaters. Despite the grotesque and absurd, this work does not lose its relevance. Therefore, it is not surprising that not only the theater but also the cinema refers to the work of this wonderful writer. It is striking that Witkiewicz anticipates the inhumane experiments on people in the XX century. We are talking not only about fascist medical experiments but also about punitive psychiatry in the USSR. The infamous lobotomy used in the US and other countries was also a little different from torture and had terrible consequences for patients.
The main location of the film is a private psychiatric hospital, where patients do not live in the chambers, but in separate rooms, like in a hotel. It is hard to believe that such hospitals exist in reality, but this location adds a degree of absurdity. The poet Mitchell (Christopher James Rika) lives and is treated in one of the rooms. The clinic has two doctors who use different approaches to treatment: Dr. Fritz (Kieth Fernandes) and Dr. Groom (Tim Kachurov). Another important supporting character is Professor Woldorf (Peter Hodgins).
One day, the poet gets a new nurse Anna (Pola Stankovic). The man immediately charms Anna, and love breaks out between them. But they will have a lot of crazy adventures in the hospital before they can escape from here.
Despite the fact that almost the whole film was shot in interiors, the visual range is striking for its ingenuity and artistic solutions. The work of John Holosko (Director of Photography) reaches the highest level of visual art
The acting duo of Christopher James Rika and Pola Stankovic is a real gem of the film. From the first frames, the viewer begins to empathize with these characters. There is no doubt that these two heroes are the only adequate people in the midst of the surrounding madness.
A film that takes place in a psychiatric hospital cannot avoid comparisons with the most famous film on this subject. This is, of course, about “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Miloš Forman. In fact, both films are about the confrontation between the man and the system. In both films, there is a hero – the rebel, which seems more normal than the doctors. Forman turns the psychiatric clinic into a metaphor for society. Stephen Rados shows the psychiatric hospital as a reality passed through the poet’s mind. That’s why this film is both a carnival and a theater of the absurd with a mad cocktail of love, madness, freedom, and compulsion.
The film “Nursery Rhyme of a Madman » is a true independent film made at the highest professional level. Despite all the absurdity and grotesqueness, the film gives you a lot of thought. This is a serious philosophical movie that pretends to be a mad comedy.