An ordinary interior, a young child and a baby. A mother is making the most of a few minutes’ peace and quiet when her daughter starts calling out insistently for her. So she disappears, literally swallowed up by the couch she was lying on. The opening scene sets the tone with the irreverent humour that oozes from Martha Mechow’s highly charged directing. Is maternity a punishment – this servitude to which women are subjected and the nub of the eternal “heterosexual knot”, as this playful, rebellious film calls it? Losing Faith unfolds like a bildungsroman, animated with the whimsical imagination of a folk tale. Flippa is its main character. Her mother has disappeared. We see her along the roads that lead her to her sister Furia and the witch-mothers of Barranconi in Sardinia. “Do you think this is why mama left? Because she couldn’t bear to pass on the rules of a world that steals our freedom?” With its caustic analysis of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, a chainsaw slashing Christian symbols and the materialistic views on the exploitation of women, Losing Faith is a breath of fresh air that’s not afraid of the excesses or insolent vitality of its actors. Driven by a spirit of community, its performative and theatrical ventures free the story from all theoretical and narrative rigidity and blur the outlines of fiction. “There is no plan, just possibilities to test. It’s by eliminating them that history is written” recalls one of the witches. And this is the way the movie goes, without a safety net, adventurous and profoundly free.