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The Mechanical Bride

Quebec Premiere
  • USA
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • 2012
  • 76 mins
  • HD
  • English / Japanese / German
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection, Hot Docs 2012
Official Selection, Sci-Fi-London 2012
Hosted by Director Allison de Fren

"Arguably the most terrifying film I have seen in a long time" — Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg, TWITCH

"A moving, weirdly human exploration of artificial companionship" — Scott Thill, WIRED

In the past few years, several films at Fantasia have dealt with the forbidden emotions that a man may have towards a doll. AIR DOLL, THÉORIE DE LA RELIGION and LOVE OBJECT have all approached the subject in an attempt to explore the disquieting fascination it holds on all of us. However, as incredible as this phenomenon may appear on screen, it does not make it any less real. There are indeed individuals of all ages and origins who feel unconditional love for, and are physically attracted to, mechanical women. They share their residence with the object of their affections. They buy gifts for their mannequins, who they insist possess their very own personalities. They have sexual relations with these plastic beings. They see themselves as being in a real relationship — and nobody can convince them otherwise.

The hallucinatory documentary THE MECHANICAL BRIDE vividly demonstrates that we are indeed living in a profoundly bizarre world. Starting from the idea that the construction of the ideal woman is an ancestral fantasy on the verge of becoming reality, documentary filmmaker Allison de Fren has sought out this marginal community of men and their dolls. Through a series of colourful interviews, ranging from obsessive Japanese collectors to a widower crushed by solitude, she attempts to shed some light on the mysteries of artificial love. De Fren also explores the industry responsible for these erotic toys. She meets employees for whom the fabrication of life-size dolls is just a job like any other, even if it does answer to demands of the most perverted kind. This is not the case for the unforgettable and heartwarming Slade, a renowned mannequin repairman who has found a new sense of purpose in his uncommon career. Narrated by Julie Newmar (the actress starring as the title-role in the cult series MY LIVING DOLL), THE MECHANICAL BRIDE is punctuated with sumptuous animated sequences and several film clips that demonstrate how more and more closely science fiction resembles our contemporary era. As a whole, the documentary is marked with a sensitive humanism that doesn’t judge its participants and serves to illuminate various important connections between technology, interpersonal relations and sexuality. THE MECHANICAL BRIDE will open your mind by transporting you in a reality that is as far away as it is nearby.

— Simon Laperrière