In Anatomy of a Love Seen, leading ladies Zoe (Sharon Hinnendael) and Mal (Jill Evyn) meet on set and fall madly in love during the filming of their big love scene. Flash forward to six months later, and Mal has up and left Zoe with no explanation. Zoe is an up and coming actress, whose success begins to overshadow that of Mal’s. Mal, an in recovery addict, can’t deal with the fear of losing Zoe, so she bails before she has the chance to get hurt. While nursing her broken heart, Zoe learns from her friend and director Kara (director Marina Rice Bader) that the film’s love scene needs to be reshot for a broadcast deal. (Talk about literal lesbian drama.) It’s during this reshoot that is Anatomy of a Love Seen picks up.
Anatomy of a Love Seen is Mariana Rice Bader’s directorial debut. The dialogue is largely improvised which gives the film a rather raw and spontaneous feel. Hinnendael and Evyn are quite strong in this format, packing a lot of emotional wallop with their scenes. At times, the pain of their break up is almost palpable. That’s the beauty of this improvisation, which allows for some real organic moments to occur. Hinnedael is particularly gifted at creating very subtle moments that come across as genuine and relatable.
As a director, Rice Bader has an eye for composition, and creates quite a few beautiful shots throughout the film. She also gives us a peek into the very technical world of love scenes. You know those sexy sex scenes that we love so much? Well, they are a hell of a lot of work. One has to respect Rice Bader’s moxie, going into a film of this construct for her debut feature and for the most part, and pulling it off rather successfully. As a performer, she’s also quite fun to watch. Her character Kara has a sweet subplot with Anne (Constance Brenneman), her assistant of over a decade, who tries to bring some light and love into what is a very stressful set.
Not all love stories need to be grand. This film is tiny in its environment, yet uses that claustrophobia to really push the performances along. There is no other option than to face the thing that breaks you in Anatomy of a Love Seen. It’s not so much a character study, as a relationship study. How does a relationship fail when two people love each other so deeply? Why do we sabotage our own happiness? Anatomy of a Love Seen tries to answer that.
Anatomy of a Love Scene premieres at Outfest on July 18th and will be available streaming on July 19 for $5.00 for a 72-hour rental period at www.anatomyofaloveseen.com