Mr. Madila

When handed the business card for a gifted spiritual healer on the streets of London, Rory Waudby-Tolley visits the mystical advisor and sets to animation the esoteric banter that ensues. The result is the conversation any curious skeptic could imagine themselves having with such an eccentric character: heady, paradoxical, and warmly life affirming. Contrasting minimalist black and white figures against bright color palettes of 3D animation tells a story that taps into reality, then transcends it.

Through a spiritual lense, Mr. Madila’s chief triumph is its delicate dance between the mundane and the profound, giving due emphasis to both. All too often works of a metaphysical nature flat out deny, or at a minimum attempt to skirt the practical pursuits that are such a substantial part of lived experience – romance, finances, exams, etc. Mr. Madila refuses to shy away from those realities. His philosophy reconciles our innate longing for worldly satisfaction with a deeper hunger for spiritual abundance. Cynical existential musings are repeatedly shot down by the stern significance Mr. Madila places on what Rory describes as “trivial” desires of everyday people.

The film makes a compelling case for complicating our assumptions about spirituality being at odds with rationality in a witty, charming, and humorously abrasive manner. By breaking the fourth wall (screen), the film serves to bring metaphysical concepts to life, and allow the viewer to join Rory in his quest to become enlightened and at peace.

 – Stephanie Glass, April 2022

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