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The film begins with an aged Joanna mourning Philip's passing before flashing back to her youth. The flashback sequence begins with Joanna headed to Flanders for a political marriage to Philip, a man she has never even seen. The two experience love at first sight, with the ceremony held immediately. This soon leads to a daughter, whom Joanna delivers in a bathroom alone.

Joanna's intense emotions toward her husband are the very things which turn him away. Philip spends his time hunting and with other women. Joanna, meanwhile, becomes heiress to both the Aragones and Castilian crowns through a series of births and deaths. Joanna doesn't care about governance, only her husband. In an attempt to surprise Philip, she discovers him with a woman from their court, cutting the woman's hair. Soon after, Joanna learns of her mother's passing and heads to her homeland as Queen "Joanna the Mad."

While Joanna seems to be a fine queen, Philip is seduced by Aixa, a Moorish prostitute and witch. While Joanna and Philip's marriage is on the rocks, the Flemish nobles wish to have Joanna declared insane, giving all power to Philip. The Castilian nobles try to help their queen but it proves difficult.

Through all of this, Joanna still focuses on Philip and hires only ugly women to her court. However, Aixa has been brought to court under a disguise. Unknowingly, Joanna asks Aixa to help her keep Philip's heart. Joanna even tries to fake an affair, which only proves she lacks control to the court and costs her her rule out of incompetence. Philip gains total control of the kingdom.

While her fate is made known, Joanna remarks on her loyal retainers. Philip falls gravely ill at the same time, soon dying with his wife in her third trimester. She heads south to bury Philip, stopping to deliver the stillbirth. She wound up being locked as a madwoman within Tordesillas until she died, with Philip's body buried at a monastery.

R
| 2001 | 1 hr 55 min | 6.7/10 | 55/100
Cast
Pilar López de Ayala, Daniele Liotti, Rosana Pastor, Giuliano Gemma
Studio
Sony Pictures Classics
Director
Vincente Aranda, Vicente Aranda
Language
English
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Juana la Loca

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