By Laura 'Simply Leah' McNeil
Venus and Magnet was definitely an interesting presentation at the 2019 Caribbean Tales International Film Festival held at The Royal Cinema in Toronto. This short film written and directed by Elspeth Duncan of Trinidad and Tobago is a cute tale that packs a powerful message.
I mentioned that this tale is a cute one, however it took me reaching the end of this film to truly appreciate that it was in fact a cute tale. If I can be honest sitting through a ten minute film where two animals run around and playing the whole time isn’t usually how I would spend an action packed Friday evening, but hey that’s just me. So, for what seemed to be the longest 10 minutes I have experienced Elspeth shares the evolution of a dog named Venus: The Doggess of Love.
Venus is a very fun, playful, loyal and of course loving dog who shares this love and playfulness with every being she comes into contact with. This dog is so full of love that she was right there helping along when her owner found a baby bird that needed to be nursed back to health. This foreigner in Venus’ home would be no stranger to all this love she has to give. We learn that neither Venus nor her owner knew what this chick would grow up to be, however Venus loved it anyway; MESSAGE! Without ruining the surprise ending I will say that myself and the rest of the audience walked away from this film in deep thought about the way of the world today. I believe at this point in the film Elspeth Duncan is trying to tell us, in her own unique way, that if these two animals with so many differences between them can live together so can we.
Watching this film took me back to the days of watching home movies, or for us in the present day, viewing on a cell phone. The cinematography was excellent, and added to the personal feeling the visualization before me created. That feeling of warmth and melancholy is what kept me in my seat right to the end of this film. I believe that this is exactly the energy that Elspeth wanted to draw from her audience. In hindsight, it's actually pretty amazing that the director was able to pack all of this, cinematography, and great message, in 10 minutes. What’s even more awesome is the fact that the characters have no lines, you have to figure it out for yourself. This film was actually narrated, and it fit perfectly with the cinematography. The way the narrator told the story was somewhat elementary as she had to leave room for us to come to our own conclusions.
*Editor’s note: This film was originally screened at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival 19’