Indie Releases: Dacryphilia + Hematolagnia (2019) - Reviewed

Sometimes, film or video clips tend to garner more attention when the title is weird. It intrigues, but in this case, most people will just see a mess of words they do not understand and pass it over. After all, if the title is incomprehensible, the film itself usually mirrors that sentiment. However, if you are one of those people annoyed by overly long or complex titles, let me explain, even just to keep you from ignoring this delightful sickery.

After all, I think many of us share in these very fetishes ourselves. Those of you who enjoy a good bout of BDSM already know this.

By definition, ‘dacryphilia’ is a paraphilia by which one becomes aroused by sobbing or tears in another individual. That is the concise explanation, but this is usually more complex in psychology and the practice of dominant and submissive sexual acts.

Then there is ‘hematolagnia’, the exciting sexual fetish for blood which evokes arousal when displayed by the fetishist's sexual partner, especially when in the nude.Sounds like a good Sunday afternoon to me, and director Shane Ryan shares that outlook. The California native has some controversial works under his belt. With his reputation for the unorthodox delivery of hard-hitting subjects that had him banned before (long story), actor and writer Ryan has admitted that he never intended to direct. Pity, as he is pretty good at it.

In this short film, which is practically a music video without the good music, he explores two aspects of a woman’s life – her life and her death in two parts that divide the short. At first, the viewer is bombarded with apparently nonsensical images of a dying man (Shane Ryan) and woman (Lilly Montano) while the lead character, an anonymous woman, enjoys their fleeting mortality by writhing and embracing what looks to be her own victims.

Technically, the direction and execution of the premise is very good, reminiscent of Argento in places, which should warn you that this is an art film that relies on metaphor and takes a more contemplative point of view. The two subjects in the title is evident by the bloody montages and the overall melancholy of the lead woman, played by Lilith Singson, even though the short film feels that it missed its intended mark at the end, evoking a sense of incomplete confusion.

Apart from the terrible choice of score which is intended to be morose, but just sounds amateurish, Dacryphilia + Hematolagnia excels as an art piece with sound direction and post production. Worth at least three watches, and at seven odd minutes run time, you can afford it.

-Tasha Danzig