Dahlia is a fantastical portrayal of a relationship affected by mental illness. Dahlia exists in two worlds: a colourful world where a young couple enjoys the simplicity of life. However, the woman exists in another, separate world. She suffers from an unnamed mental illness which not only traps her inside a world of her own dark terrors but puts stress on her relationship as her boyfriend tries to bring her back to reality.
Director and animator Ana Mouyis hand painted her gorgeous short film Dahlia, and she uses colour in a really interesting way. The couple’s reality is painted in vibrant colours, but when the woman falls into her literal downward spirals, everything desaturates, leaving her in the dark grey scale confines of her mind, alone.
The film itself is completely devoid of dialogue. Everything is transmitted visually through the characters expressions, through the changing of colours, and from the numerous metaphors alluding to mental health and the roles relationships play in them, and vice versa. The tension is aided by it’s simultaneously dreamy yet unsettling score.
Dahlia is almost split into two shorts: one about her life and episodes in the day, when she appears to have a little bit more control over things, and at night, when she falls her deepest into her mental rabbit hole, and when you see the effort her boyfriend puts in to try to pry her out from her inner demons.